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Air Pollution

Volume 410: debated on Friday 19 September 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's policy to reduce air pollution by 2005. [131088]

The Government's policies on improving air quality are set out in detail in the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, published in January 2000 and its Addendum published in February 2003. The Strategy sets standards for the pollutants of main concern and target dates for their achievement between 2003 and 2010. It also explains the measures that are in place to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants from all sectors. Copies are available via the Department's website at are on course or have already met the targets for five of the nine pollutants in England, namely benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead and sulphur dioxide. Significant progress has been made towards meeting the air quality objectives for nitrogen dioxide, particles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and ozone. This is as a result of the measures that have been implemented to reduce emissions of these pollutants, and their precursors, particularly from road transport and industry.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the level of air pollution was in the UK in 2002; and what the levels were in other EU countries. [131089]

The Air Quality Headline Indicator for Sustainable development published on 8 May 2003 summarised UK air pollution in 2002. The statistical release is available at 030508a.htm.In urban areas in 2002, air pollution was recorded as moderate or higher on 20 days on average per monitoring site, compared with 25 days in 2001, and 59 days in 1993. There has been a long term decline in the number of air pollution days, largely because of a reduction in particles and sulphur dioxide, but fluctuations from one year to the next can occur because of differences in weather conditions.In rural areas, the figure for 2002 was 30 days on average per site, compared with 34 in 2001. The number of days has fluctuated between 21 days in 1987 and 50 days in 1990. The series can be volatile from one year to the next, and there is no clear trend. This reflects the variability in levels of ozone, the main cause of pollution in rural areas.Comprehensive information on all UK air quality monitoring data is available on the Air Quality Archive at European Environment Agency (EEA) collates and publishes air pollution information for all European Union member states. Its AirBase database is at http://etc-acc.eioneneu.inticlatabases/airbase.html. Air pollution data for 2002 are not yet available.The EEA's report "Europe's Environment, the third assessment report", published in May 2003, includes a summary of air pollution trends in Europe from1990 to 2000. The report is at environmental_assessment_report_2003_ 10/en

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on levels of air pollution in Romford, in each year since 1997. [131277]

Defra does not conduct any air quality monitoring in Romford. The levels have been assessed using air quality information for the closest three national automatic monitoring stations at Thurrock, Southend-on-Sea and London Bexley. These sites are generally representative of public exposure. The sites monitor nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and ozone. The number of days of (a) moderate, (b) high and (c) very high air pollution recorded in each year since 1997 are given in the table. The levels of particulate matter and ozone are the main drivers for the number of days of moderate and above air pollution.

Number of days
ModerateHighVery highTotal