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Air Pollution: Greater London

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many days air pollution recorded on Neasden Lane, NW10, exceeded (a) moderate, (b) high and (c) very high levels in the last 12 months; and what level of such pollution poses a risk to public health. (264021)

The monitoring site at Neasden Lane is the responsibility of the local authority and is part of the London Air Quality Network (LAQN). The LAQN is facilitated by the Association of London Government on behalf of the 33 London Boroughs and is operated and managed by the Environmental Research Group (ERG) at Kings College London. Air quality information from the monitoring site at Neasden Lane, including historical data, can be found at:

http://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/default.asp?la_id =&showbulletins=&width=1280

The UK air quality strategy sets air quality objectives for the protection of human health. These objectives are reflected in the Air Quality (England) Regulations 2002 and similar regulations for devolved administrations. All local authorities are required to work towards these objectives. EU legislation sets similar limit values for air pollutants, with which the UK must comply.

For PM10 (small particles) the limits are:

50 microgrammes/m3 daily mean not to be exceeded more than 35 days a calendar year

An annual mean concentration of 40 microgrammes/m3

For nitrogen dioxide (NO2) the limits are:

1 hour mean concentration of 200 microgrammes/m3 not to be exceeded more than 18 times a year

An annual mean concentration of 40 microgrammes/m3

These are based on World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. Health effects of air pollutants are described in detail in the (draft) COMEAP (Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollution) report “Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution: Effect on Mortality” at:

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/comeap/statementsreports/longtermeffectsmort2007.htm