Step change required for tackling UK air quality
A new report on improving air quality has been published by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Environmental Audit, Health and Social Care and Transport Committees. NCAS’s Professor Ally Lewis and Dr Sarah Moller, who are atmospheric chemists based at the University of York, provided evidence and recommendations that were quoted widely by the committees in the report.
The joint inquiry, the first of its kind, was launched last year amid concerns over the UK’s longstanding breaches of air quality limits and the inadequacy of the Government's plan to reduce air pollution. Air pollution is a national health emergency, causing an estimated 40,000 early deaths each year and costing the UK £20 billion annually.
In the new report, the four committees call for the government to take action by enacting a new Clean Air Act, a clean air fund financed by the transport industry, a national air quality support programme for councils, and the Government to require manufacturers to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel cars earlier than the current 2040 target.
NCAS is the primary Research Council body that provides research capability on air pollution in the UK. NCAS is also coordinating the NERC investment of £4.3 million to establish a new network of advanced air quality monitoring instruments at research ‘supersites’ in London, Birmingham and Manchester by the end of 2018. The instruments will detect harmful air pollutants and their sources in greater detail than ever before at existing research sites in three UK cities. Read more about the investment: https://www.ncas.ac.uk/en/2-uncategorised/2892-air-quality-research-supersites-set-for-manchester-birmingham-and-london
Professor Ally Lewis is the Deputy Director and Director of Atmospheric Composition for NCAS, and is coordinating the scientific workstream of the £4.3 million NERC investment in air quality research ‘supersites’ across the UK . Dr Sarah Moller holds a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship and works jointly between NCAS/University of York and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). NCAS and Defra jointly deliver the Secretariat functions of the Defra Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG).