Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


  An extract from NSCA's draft response to the Review of the National Air Quality Strategy:


  NSCA fully understands the difficulties faced by the Government in achieving the current UK objective for particles. It also fully understands the obligation placed on the Government to transpose the Air Quality Daughter Directive limit values for Particles into UK Law. However, NSCA does not support the conversion of the current UK objective into an indicative level, or the introduction of the Stage 2 Daughter Directive limits for 2009 as indicative levels.

  NSCA welcomes the production of the APEG report Source Apportionment of Airborne Particulate Matter in the United Kingdom and the greater understanding of the nature and sources of particles which it represents. Using the findings of this report, the review has concluded that the original particulate objective was overly ambitious and is therefore not achievable in the current time frame. However, as it is the pollutant which is currently of greatest concern in terms of health effects, the Government's commitment to reduce particulate levels beyond the Daughter Directive Stage 1 limit value is welcomed by the NSCA.

  In view of this, and in view of the fact that the National Air Quality Strategy will be reviewed again at least once prior to 2005, NSCA believe that the Government should maintain the current objective for particles as a firm objective. This would send the clearest possible signal of the Government's intentions and provide the direct impetus for action on the causes of poor air quality. Much has been made, at the launch of the review and subsequently, of the contribution of secondary particulate originating from continental Europe in exceedances of the UK objective levels. Certainly in exceptional years, this contribution is substantial and beyond the direct control of UK Government. While the NSCA welcomes the Government's commitment to raise the issues with its European partners, we feel that the UK should be planning for typical years and not the atypical years such as 1996.

  Under typical meteorological conditions, approximately half of the UK particle load is made up of largely naturally occurring coarse particles and secondary particulate of European origin. This means that the other half is of manmade origin, sourced within the UK and therefore subject to the influence of UK Government policies. Therefore, while action at the European level is vital to achieve long-term improvements in air quality, as the EU Auto-Oil programme has shown, there is a substantial amount of work which may be done unilaterally in the UK. In addition to improving the health of UK citizens and saving the National Health Service substantial sums of money, this would put the UK in a stronger bargaining position within Europe.

  NSCA would urge the Government to adopt the Daughter Directive Stage 2 values as firm objectives, again in order to secure necessary health improvements and to send clear signals of intent both within and outside the UK."

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