Government launches air quality expert group

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has announced the formation of the new Air Quality Expert Group in order to help tackle air pollution in the UK.

The group’s main functions will be to:

  • advise the Government and devolved administrations on levels, sources and characteristics of air pollutants in the UK;
  • assess the extent that the Air Quality Strategy objectives and European Union limit values are exceeded where monitoring data is not available;
  • analyse trends in pollutant concentrations;
  • assess current and future ambient concentrations of air pollutants; and
  • suggest potential priority areas for future research in order to provide a better understanding of the issues that need to be addressed in setting air quality objectives.

“It is essential to get a better understanding of air pollution, to help us assess the impacts of any strategies for reduction we may propose,” said Environment Minister Michael Meacher. “Assessing the levels and sources of pollution is especially complex, since the levels found in the UK typically come from a range of sectors, including industry, transport and the natural environment, not to mention pollutants which have come from other countries. This new expert group will be an enormous help.”

The group’s Chair has been announced as Professor Mike Pilling, Research Dean for Mathematics and Physical Sciences, and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Leeds, and who has been involved in research into atmospheric chemistry for ten years. “In Professor Pilling, the Air Quality Expert Group have an experienced, eminent and well respected Chair,” said Meacher. “His first task will be to help appoint a top team for the group.”

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