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Air Pollution: Neasden

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 17 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many days in the last 12 months air pollution levels recorded on Neasden Lane exceeded (a) moderate, (b) high and (c) very high; and if he will make a statement. (136259)

Air quality at Neasden Lane is monitored for two air pollutants: nitrogen dioxide and PM10 particulate matter. Provisional data from the London Air Quality Network indicate that monitored levels of nitrogen dioxide at this location did not exceed “moderate” levels at any time between 1 May 2006 and 1 May 2007. Monitored levels of PM10 particulate matter during this period fell within the “moderate” range of air quality for 90 days, within the “high” range of air quality for 44 days and within the “very high” range of air quality for 80 days.

Neasden Lane has uniquely high levels of observed PM10 particulates for a London air quality monitoring site due to the influence of a single local source of emissions: the waste transfer site at the nearby Neasden Goods Depot. In the past, DEFRA has assisted Brent council in funding a detailed assessment of air pollution in this area, which attributed the elevated PM10 levels to these waste operations.

The Environment Agency, which regulates operation at Neasden Goods Depot, has been working in conjunction with the London borough of Brent to address these emissions through:

(i) regular inspection of the waste transfer facility;

(ii) monitoring of air quality within the depot's vicinity;

(iii) designing and implementing mitigation measures in conjunction with the site operators to reduce dust and particulate emissions; and

(iv) ensuring that the site operators are operating within permitted limits, requiring them to take specific actions when appropriate.

Improvements made as part of this process include the installation at the depot of dust suppression systems and improvements to drainage and surfacing of the site, to reduce dust and particulate formation.

Recent developments also include an increase in the frequency of air quality monitoring, which is available on the internet at:

www.londonair.org.uk.