Report suggests the approach used by the UK to compile air quality data may be resulting in greater numbers of EU air pollution exceedances in comparison to other European countries
The approach used to measure levels of nitrogen dioxide in the UK may have resulted in a larger number of areas in the country exceeding EU air pollution limits than in other European countries, according to a Defra report published last week (February 15).
However, the report concludes that the UK’s approach potentially provides a more detailed analysis of air pollution data for EU compliance assessment compared to other member states.
Currently the UK supplements measured data with modelled predictions for its EU compliance assessments, which is the equivalent to monitoring everywhere across the UK.
Measured air quality is based on actual readings at monitoring sites, whereas modelling uses various mathematical and scientific methods to calculate concentrations. Modelling is used to estimate pollution levels from specific sources or in areas that do not have monitoring sites, for example.
Only the UK and Netherlands currently submit modelling data alongside monitoring data to the EU, while other large countries such as France and Germany only submit measured data.