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Air Quality

Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 19 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the air quality in the United Kingdom's main urban centres on (a) 31 October and (b) 4 November; and what warnings were given to the public concerning air quality on those days. [16413]

On 31 October 1997 air quality in a number of UK urban centres was poor. High concentrations of nitrogen dioxide were measured in Birmingham, Bristol, London, Lincoln and Reading. Nitrogen dioxide levels were highest on 31 October, peaking at 257 parts per billion at Camden Roadside. A table summarising the highest hourly nitrogen dioxide concentrations that occurred on that day is shown below. On 4 November 1997 there were no occurrences of poor or very poor air quality at any national UK monitoring site.

Monitoring site locationMaximum hourly NO2 levels (parts per billion)
Bromley Roadside110
Camden Roadside257
Southwark Roadside185
Sutton Roadside172
Tower Hamlets Roadside110
West London213
London A3 Roadside117
London Bridge Place194
London Eltham124
London Hackney100
London Lewisham131
London Marylebone Road153
London North Kensington142
London Southwark237
London Teddington114
London Wandsworth216
Birmingham Centre151
Birmingham East115
Bristol Old Market102
Lincoln Roadside170
On both 31 October and 4 November hourly air pollution information and air quality forecasts were available on CEEFAX (pages 410–417), TELETEXT (page 106), the Department's free phone information line (0800 556677) and through the Department's Internet site. In addition, air quality forecasts and information on pollutant levels were sent to national and regional newspapers, television, radio stations, Government agencies, local authorities and environmental groups.