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Air Pollution

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL3950, tabled on 10 November 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to improve the (1) reliability, and (2) coverage, of air quality monitoring in the UK.

Answered on

24 November 2021

Defra’s national air quality monitoring networks are made up of 300 sites across the UK and are managed by the Environment Agency. The reliability of the networks is ensured through a process of quality assurance and quality control prescribed in agreements with the monitoring network contractors to continuously improve air quality monitoring reliability and performance. The national air quality monitoring network is subject to continuous review to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and delivers on public expenditure at good value.

The geographical coverage of air quality monitoring is determined by the Air Quality Standards Regulations (2010) that require a set number of monitoring locations within administrative areas dependent on whether the environment is urban, rural or by a roadside and dependent also on population size.

Several adjustments were made in a recent review including increases in monitoring for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide. Also, as part of the development of new targets for PM2.5 in the Environmental Act, Government is expanding the number of PM2.5 monitoring sites to ensure that compliance with the new targets can be appropriately monitored. A consultation on the new targets and the proposed monitoring arrangements will be issued early in the New Year.