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Experts Unimpressed With Local Air Quality Monitoring Consultation

October 3, 2013
Environmental Protection

Air quality experts have unanimously rejected DEFRA?s proposals to remove the responsibility for air quality monitoring from local authorities. A three month consultation on the subject along with other proposed changes ended on the 13th September and DEFRA officials are now studying responses. Environmental Protection UK have rejected all the government’s proposals advocating the need for the current system to be maintained, with local authorities required to consolidate current air quality reporting into a single annual air quality improvement document. The charity has also called for better co-operation between councils on PM2.5s.

Air quality scientists from the Environmental Research Group at London?s Kings College are also in favour of maintaining the current system saying that it has; ?provided innovative solutions with an important connection to local communities?, adding that more support is needed for councils from government on the issue. They are also in favour of a separate independent agency being established to scrutinise air quality actions, taking the responsibility away from DEFRA.

Campaign group, Healthy Air UK, have also criticised the government’s approach warning that any removal of? the current air quality duties placed on local authorities would; ??be nothing short of a disaster for air quality, risking the loss of hundreds of local monitoring sites across England.? Other proposals in the consultation document to significantly weaken the rules around Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) have also come under fire with Simon Birkett of Clean Air London saying the changes would; ? drive a coach and horses through projections in the planning system.? DEFRA are set to publish a full summary of consultation responses shortly.? ?

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