WIT Press

Managing Air Quality – Are We Doing Enough?


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WIT Press


T. J. Chatterton, E. T. Hayes & J. W. S. Longhurst


2005 marked the 10th anniversary of the Environment Act that laid the foundations for the UK Local Air Quality Management regime. Two key events made it a significant year for air quality management in Europe. Firstly, the European limit value for PM10 came into force at the beginning of the year (followed later by widespread failure to comply with it). Later in 2005, after considerable debate, the European Commission launched its Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution, setting out its vision for air quality management up to 2020. In the context of these events, this paper looks at the state of air quality management in the UK, Europe and further a field and asks whether the nature of the current frameworks for air quality management and their implementation are any longer sufficient for tackling air pollution problems at a local, national and European scale. Air pollution, in the UK at least, is largely a symptom of the country’s transport problems with over 90% of Air Quality Management Areas in the UK being declared in relation to transport related sources. Despite the evidence of the strong relationship between transport, air pollution and AQMAs the government has ‘revised’ its 10-year transport plan, removing its commitment to a reduction in traffic and instead has committed itself to planning for considerable increases in road traffic. Given the predicted increases of traffic and its associated emissions is there any evidence to suggest that the air quality management regime is able to deliver the intended outcome of improved air quality? Keywords: air quality management, transport, planning policy, thematic strategy, pollution, LAQM.


air quality management, transport, planning policy, thematic strategy, pollution, LAQM.