Any person with an interest in air quality can register for free at this year’s AQE Air Quality virtual conference and exhibition. Pre-registration will provide access to a comprehensive conference programme that will address all of the most topical air quality issues.
Delegates to the AQE 2021 air quality conference are most likely to be environmental health officers, town and highway planners, facilities managers, ventilation professionals, researchers, students, environmental lobbyists, government advisors and consultants. The air quality conference will address three major themes, featuring eminent speakers from academia, DEFRA, Environment Agency, Government of Scotland, NPL, PHE, CERC, and Ricardo:
1. Air quality regulations
Now that the UK is no longer a member of the European Union, in common with any other countries, it has to choose the air quality standards which it will apply. The UK may adopt the EU air quality standards or perhaps the more stringent levels set by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Environment Bill is still being debated in Westminster, but Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “The Environment Bill will deliver the most ambitious environmental programme of any country on earth. It will clean up the air we breathe, restore natural habitats, improve water quality and will increase biodiversity with legally binding targets that put the environment at the heart of all government policy making. We are fully committed to ensuring that this world-leading Bill completes its passage into law as soon as possible.”
Conference speakers will discuss future strategies covering topics such as Clean Air Zones and monitoring networks. There will also be a description of ‘Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 – Towards a Better Place for Everyone’, which sets out how the Scottish Government will deliver further air quality improvements over the period 2021-2025.
Work on the development of a standard for low cost sensors will be described, as well as the Quantification of Utility of Atmospheric Network Technologies (QUANT) project. The early findings of the project will be provided, focusing in particular on measurement uncertainties and what this can tell us about how to get the most out of low-cost sensor technologies.
Irrespective of current work to assess low-cost sensors and performance standards, one of the presentations will provide a pragmatic perspective on their utility. This will include differentiation between local and external emission sources, and an explanation of a novel procedure to calibrate networks of monitors without gases…
2. Air quality and climate change
With COP-26 taking place in Glasgow a few weeks after AQE 2021, this session will address the ways in which climate change and air quality objectives can be combined. For example, the implementation of a Low Emission Zone will improve air quality inside the zone, but the overall impact on climate change could be negligible, because dirty vehicles might simply migrate to other regions. So, an alternative policy might be to encourage active transport within the area and/or a move to green public transport which could have benefits for BOTH air quality and climate change. Similarly, electric cars emit nothing other than brake dust and tyre particles. However, they use electricity which has a carbon footprint somewhere else, unless powered by genuinely renewable energy, so the rush to electric cars will need to be tempered by a holistic evaluation of their impact on sustainability.
Understanding and managing the path to Net-Zero greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health requires a view into the emissions and atmospheric chemistry of cities with the fine grained detail that allows evaluation of specific processes and variations from one locality to another. So, one of the speakers will describe the development of the Berkeley Environment, Air Quality and CO2 Network in the USA.
Monitoring will, of course, remain an underlying theme in most of the presentations. For example, early results from the UK Supersite Network will be provided, and there will be an explanation of the collaborative research opportunities created by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Air Quality Network (SAQN). Other speakers will describe the latest developments in data processing and analysis, including the assimilation of real-world vehicle emissions measurements to provide greater insights into urban pollution. These presentations will also highlight the opportunity for monitoring and modeling to work together synergistically.
3. Indoor air quality and public health
Recent years have seen an increased focus on indoor air quality (IAQ), with concern growing about poor ventilation, and pollution from both internal and external sources. These fears have been heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic, and will be addressed by several speakers.
An investigator from the MAGIC project will describe the problems associated with traditional approaches to urban environmental control systems, which rely on energy-consuming and carbon/toxin producing heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC), producing an unsustainable cycle of increasing energy use. To resolve this, the MAGIC project is developing a completely different engineering solution - to couple with natural systems, so as not to depend solely on mechanical systems.
A speaker from Public Health England will describe the organisation’s latest work on IAQ, health and wellbeing, and key findings from a European network for indoor air quality, INDAIRPOLLNET, will be provided. This project has been running since September 2018, and aims to better understand indoor air quality to provide healthier buildings for the future.
Air quality is now a major political issue and is frequently covered by the media. At the same time, governments are increasingly seeking to be guided by the science, so it is fortunate that so much work is being conducted in this area.
By pre-registering for the virtual AQE 2021 event (www.ilmexhibitions.com), visitors will be able to assimilate all of the latest findings from some of the world’s leading researchers, and at the same time be able to discuss the practicalities of both indoor and outdoor air quality strategy with some of the sector’s leading experts.