Publications

For minutes of past meetings, please contact the AQEG Secretariat.

AQEG Advice on the use of 'low-cost' pollution sensors

Low-cost sensors are highly attractive for many different reasons – they potentially allow for far greater density of measurements to be made, let individuals measure pollution in their local environment, they may be carried on a person to estimate exposure, or be integrated into networks into local air pollution management systems.

Many different low-cost sensors are being commercialized and the technology and marketplace is evolving very rapidly. For this reason it is difficult for Defra and the Air Quality Expert Group to use its usual format of detailed review reports to provide updates or advice to interested parties on the state of the art. There is a substantial risk that such studies may well be out of date by the time of publication.

Instead Defra and AQEG will use this part of the UK-Air website to provide regular updates on the science and application of air pollution sensors, their uncertainties and recommendations and advice on where they may, or may not, be appropriate to use. Links to the latest review articles on this subject will also be provided.

Impacts of Shipping on UK Air Quality

Shipping makes significant contributions to emissions of primary air pollutants and to the production of secondary pollutants. The relative contribution of emissions from shipping is greater in the vicinity of the UK than across other areas of Europe because of the UK’s location adjacent to major shipping lanes and its major port activities. This report, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations looks at the available evidence on the impacts of shipping on UK air quality.

The Potential Air Quality Impacts from Biomass Burning

National energy statistics show an increasing trend in the combustion of wood in the UK and both measurements and inventories suggest that particulate matter from biomass burning is on the increase. A range of incentives that encourage the use of biomass burning for power and heat generation could have adverse air quality impacts. This report, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations looks at the available evidence on the potential air quality impacts from biomass burning.

Paints and Surfaces for the Removal of Nitrogen Oxides

There is increased interest in the use of outdoor photocatalytic surfaces (surfaces that act as a catalyst when exposed to light) as a means of reducing concentrations of various pollutants; principally nitrogen oxides (NOx which includes nitrogen monoxide, NO and nitrogen dioxide, NO2), and particularly NO2.
 
The report on Paints and Surfaces for the Removal of Nitrogen Oxides, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations looks at the available evidence on the efficacy of photocatalytic paints and surfaces and their impact on ambient concentrations of nitrogen oxides.

Evidential Value of Defra Air Quality Compliance Monitoring

Defra's air quality monitoring networks support compliance reporting against European ambient air quality directives. For more information see http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/networks/

The Evidential value of Defra air quality compliance monitoring report, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations looks at the range of activities that Defra's air quality monitoring networks support beyond their core, mandatory reporting function.

Mitigation of UK PM2.5 Concentrations

Particulate matter (PM) is the term used to describe condensed phase (solid or liquid) particles suspended in the atmosphere. Their potential for causing health problems is directly linked to the size of the particles. A growing body of research has pointed towards the smaller particles, in particular PM less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5), as a metric that is more closely associated with adverse health effects than other metrics such as PM10.

The Mitigation of UK PM2.5 concentrations report, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations addresses two issues: first, the contribution to PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 µm) concentrations in the UK which arises from sources within the UK and which therefore sets a limit on the extent to which UK source abatement measures can mitigate UK PM2.5 concentrations; and second, the related issue of the role of ammonia emission reductions in mitigating PM2.5 concentrations compared with reductions in other sources/components of PM2.5, in particular primary combustion sources of PM2.5.

Linking Emission Inventories and Ambient Measurements

An emissions inventory is a database of all quantified releases of air pollutants by source for a specific location and during a given time period. It is important to verify emission inventories as a way of checking whether trends in ambient concentrations match those expected in emission inventories and, if they do not, to identify a potential cause and take any necessary action.

The Linking emission inventories and ambient measurements report, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations considers the linkage between emission inventories and ambient measurements and aims to review information that could help establish a stronger link between them.

Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in the UK

Particulate matter (PM) is the term used to describe condensed phase (solid or liquid) particles suspended in the atmosphere. Their potential for causing health problems is directly linked to the size of the particles. A growing body of research has pointed towards the smaller particles, in particular PM less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5), as a metric that is more closely associated with adverse health effects than other metrics such as PM10.

The PM2.5 in the UK report, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations gives an overview of the evidence base for PM2.5 in the UK. The report challenges the robustness of the evidence for making future policy decisions in respect of PM2.5 in the UK context. There is an analysis of the evidence concerning key relevant aspects including PM2.5 measurement and the composition and current concentrations of PM2.5 across the UK, as well as source emissions and receptor modelling for PM2.5. Finally, AQEG evaluates the methods for modelling PM2.5 and what can be said about future concentrations. The report concludes with an assessment of the key uncertainties and gaps in the evidence base that require action.

Understanding PM10 in Port Talbot

AQEG was asked by Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government to provide an independent expert opinion on:

"What methodologies or approaches are required to advance the evidence base in order to assess the impact of the different current particle sources within the Port Talbot area on the resultant particulate matter (PM) levels in the local area?"

AQEG reviewed a range of evidence, including published reports and material gathered at a public evidence session held at Port Talbot. In the advice note AQEG make a series of recommendations intended to provide guidance on the future evidence gathering in Port Talbot to better understand the sources of PM10.

The Welsh Government has respond to AQEG on the recommendations made in the report

Road Transport Biofuels: Impact for UK Air Quality

This advice note looks at recent trends in biofuel consumption in the UK and summarises the effects of biofuels on vehicle emissions and air quality based on current evidence. The advice note addresses only the direct effects of consumption of biofuels on air quality in the UK resulting from end of tailpipe emissions.

AQEG recognise that tailpipe emissions are only one of many aspects which need to be considered in the full context of biofuel production and use and is not meant to diminish the importance of wider sustainability issues, both in the UK and globally.

AQEG conclude that consumption of biofuels as low strength blends up to 15% has little effect on air quality, but further research on the effects of high strength blends on emissions is required if their consumption were to be encouraged.

Older publications

Particulate matter in the UK

Nitrogen Dioxide in the UK

For copies of old reports and publications published by the Air Quality Expert Group, please contact the AQEG secretariat.