Government launches consultation on air pollution control

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) is launching a consultation on a number of methods of risk assessment to determine Local Air Pollution Control (LAPC).

The DETR’s report on the proposals, Risk Assessment Method for Local Air Pollution Control, outlines four potential methods that could be used to deliver a system for regulating LAPC. According to the DETR, the selected method should lead to increased transparency, reduced burden for industry and greater consistency between regulating authorities. It should also provide an incentive to industry to improve their environmental management.

The four methods of risk assessment vary according to their complexity, and the length of time required to undertake the process:

  • method one involves a crude risk rating of processes based on available statistical data;
  • method two is a simple screening approach which involves the use of the risk rating used in method one to produce a baseline score, which then allows individual processes to be further classified according to the number of complaints received and the degree of compliance with authorisation regulations;
  • method three also employs the risk rating to produce a baseline score, though further attributes are used to address aspects of a process’ potential environmental impact and the performance of the operator;
  • method four is essentially the same as the Operator and Pollution Risk Appraisal (OPRA) for Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) processes, but with modification to take into account the differences between IPC and LAPC processes.

The report recommends the third method as being the most appropriate method for further testing. This method also uses the OPRA system for estimating risk.

The report was commissioned by the DETR, the National Assembly for Wales, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and recommends that a further practical examination should be carried out on the preferred method. A local authority trial on the chosen scheme is planned for early next year.

Under the LAPC, local authorities regulate air pollution from 17,000 industrial processes which must be authorised by the relevant local authority. Authorisations must include conditions aimed at ensuring the use of Best Available Techniques Not Entailing Excessive Cost (BATNEEC) to prevent and minimise air emissions.

Comments on the proposal are invited from local authorities and trade associations, and should be sent to by 12 January 2001. Alternatively, they can be posted to Paul Barrett, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, Zone 4/G9, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.

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