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York academics contribute to new air pollution report

Posted on 15 March 2018

Evidence and recommendations from researchers at the University of York have been included in a new air pollution report released by the House of Commons.


Dr Sarah Moller and Prof Alastair Lewis provided detailed evidence on a range of topics including priorities for emissions controls.

The unprecedented joint inquiry was launched in 2017 amid concerns over the inadequacy of the Government’s plan to improve air quality in the UK, as demonstrated by a series of successful judicial challenges in recent years.

Dr Sarah Moller and Professor Alastair Lewis provided detailed evidence to the inquiry on a range of topics including air pollution measurement strategy, priorities for emissions controls and potential changes to the taxation of fuels and pollution in the UK.   

Recommendations

Their recommendations were frequently cited in the report, as was recent research from the University on European trends in NO2 and that indicated that roadside air pollution targets may be met sooner than is currently anticipated. 

The Department of Chemistry at York hosts a NERC research centre, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), who have a key role in providing impartial advice to Government on the basic science of air pollution.

Dr Moller works as a joint appointment between the University and Defra, and also holds a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship.

She said "The University plays a unique role in air pollution science in the UK. It not only generates a large volume of original research and hosts the NERC centre, but it also leads on linking the latest UK air quality research with Defra. It is very encouraging to see scientific advice being used so widely in reports of this kind."

Investment

Researchers at York have proposed that more emphasis be placed on directly measuring emissions to air, to help confirm that new policies to improve air quality are working and to avoid any repeat of the unanticipated problems associated with NOx from diesel engines.

They have also recommended that the taxation of carbon dioxide emissions and other air pollutants be combined where possible to encourage investment in technologies that simultaneously meet national priorities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.   

Professor Lewis added: "The recent government announcement of £4.3 million in new infrastructure for air pollution research will mean we can provide even more detailed information and advice on trends in air pollution and emissions and allow the University and NCAS to continue to shape future actions to improve air quality in the UK." 

 

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About this research

The Department of Chemistry at York hosts a NERC research centre, the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), who have a key role in providing impartial advice to Government on the basic science of air pollution.