The Environment Agency has published its annual report regarding the state of the environment in England, specifically related to air quality.
The report is part of an ongoing annual reporting process, whereby the holistic issues that face the nation are assessed and addressed. The report in question relates to air quality, to which has been assessed to be the greatest environmental threat to the UK population health. Though air quality in the UK has been improving year-by-year, a greater understanding of sources of air pollution and the impacts it has on both human health and the winder environment underlines the great importance reducing these environmental will have.
The key findings of the report include:
- Emission and concentrations of most air pollutants has steadily decreased in recent decades Whilst UK emissions are legally meeting EU limits, there remains exception with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in a number of different urban areas
Particulate matters PM2.5 and PM10 are within the legal limits, however pose a concern for human health in a number of different locations
- 5.3% of all total mortality is attributable to particulate pollution in 2016
- 95% of all England’s nitrogen-sensitive habitats are adversely impacted by nitrogen deposition (3% reduction since 1996), whilst of acid-sensitive habitats 59% are affected by acidification (17% reduction from 1996)
- Emission reduction targets for 2030 will not be met for ammonia, nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds, sulphur dioxide and PM2.5 based on current projects and current actions
The report shows mixed results for the state of England’s air quality. Improvements have been seen across the board, however the pace of such improvements in many has been assessed to be too slow with too little action having been implemented. Specifically, pollution in many urban areas remains poor with these areas going above legal limits set by the EU, leading to fines for the UK Government from the European Commission. This remains the greatest issue that both England and the wider UK faces in relation to air quality. The report was published in July 2018 and is part of an annual review into the national environment.
Report on the English Air Quality published on gov.uk.