Analysis of Air Quality in the UK


Air pollution has always been a significant area of concern in the developed world, especially in major locations. Polluting of the environment is identified as-

'the occurrence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more contaminants such as dirt, fumes, gas, mist, odour, smoke cigars, or vapour in amounts and of characteristics and length such concerning be injurious to human, plant, or pet life or to property, or to interfere unreasonably with the comfortable excitement of life and property'.

In days gone by there were severe issues with air quality in the United Kingdom, especially in major cities such as London. In 1952 the fantastic London Smog, which came into being due to a rise in industrialisation, caused heavy smoke to stay over metropolis for times and caused a large number of deaths. Thankfully, the quality of air in London has significantly improved since that time and visible air pollution, such as particles, smoke cigars, and smog has generally disappeared credited to UK and Western legislation and initiatives. However, there have been more recent instances of deaths brought on by air pollution. In 2003, during London's summertime smog episode in August there have been a complete of between 46 and 212 premature fatalities from ozone and 85 from particulate subject. London's summer time smog show in July 2006 was more likely to have led to an identical or greater amount of fatalities from ozone and a just a bit lower amount for particulate matter.

Due these situations and increase general population awareness or the detrimental effects of air pollution, the uk government has put various legislation and initiatives in place to improve air quality. Air contaminants are mainly triggered by human activities that contain serious health results on human being health, wildlife, and the environment. Aswell, car and aviation pollution are major resources of many air pollutants and the amount of vehicles and aircrafts are increasing. These contaminants all contribute to climate change, that could lead to flooding and extreme weather. Environmental legislation that handles air pollution has aimed to boost quality of air through a number of methods. Furthermore, initiatives including the National QUALITY OF AIR Strategy and preventative systems like the precautionary, preventative and polluter compensates principles also aim to improve quality of air. Other proposals include minimizing car emissions, buying locally produced goods and turning off gadgets when not in use.

Air Pollutants

Many activities that seem to be harmless on the surface contribute to air pollution, from worries to using hairspray. The main pollutants of matter that affect air quality include, but aren't limited to; particulate subject, volatile organic materials (VOCs), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). These contaminants can have serious health effects in both the long and short term.

Particulate matter is non-visible airborne particles and the main source is the emissions from diesel motors. When inhaled, particulate subject can reach deep in the lungs where it can produce swelling and worsen heart and soul and lung diseases in sufferers of these conditions.

Volatile organic substances are mainly released in vehicle exhaust gases, usually as unburned fuels. These compounds can irritate the lungs and lower amount of resistance to certain attacks.

Chlorofluorocarbons are something of aerosol sprays, solvents, etc that undertake a major effect that destroys the ozone. The ozone is vital as it shields life from ultraviolet radiation. Also, CFCs can have a far more visible impact as it's been known to irritate the lungs and boost the symptoms in victims of asthma and lung diseases. Other possible long-term health effects include cancer, liver and kidney destruction, and birth defects.

Sulphur dioxide is released in to the air because of the burning of fossil fuels that have sulphur, the most common source being coal terminated power stations. It is an acidic gas which can incorporate with normal water vapour to produce acid rain, which includes been from the death of animals in some cases, as well regarding the corrosion of buildings. It can cause a decrease in lung function in folks who already suffer from respiratory problems. Thus, it is obvious to see why it's important to lessen these pollutants as much as possible to guarantee the safety of the population.

Car Pollution

Motor Vehicles are one of the major resources of air pollution in britain by causing skin tightening and emissions at a total of 22%. Other air contaminants from automobiles include nitrogen oxides, debris, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. This will not change in the near future as traffic levels are expected to continue to increase. All of these contaminants have a detrimental impact on human health and flora and fauna. The UK Administration has introduced options to fight this form of polluting of the environment. The twelve-monthly Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) was created in 2001 in an effort to tax automobiles based on predicted carbon dioxide emissions and the type of fuel used. Furthermore, tax discounts are for sale to users who buy bio-fuel and cross types electric vehicles. In this manner, car owners are encouraged to buy vehicles that happen to be less bad for the surroundings.

Aviation Pollution

In 2006, around 240 million passengers passed through the main UK airports and the government predicts that by 2020 this increase to 400 million people. Pollutant emissions from aircrafts are growing with the increasing amount of plane tickets. Previously, the primary pollutant that was emitted from aircrafts was nitrogen oxides (NOx). These are dangerous as they contribute to the making of ozone which has a major part in global warming; financial firms no problem of recent for civil aviation with the decommissioning of the Concorde. As well, aircrafts are a significant source of carbon dioxide emissions and these emissions at an increased altitude are thought to truly have a greater influence on climate change than emissions on the floor. In fact, it is likely that the aviation sector will become the main source of carbon dioxide soon.

Climate Change

Along with directly harming people health as mentioned, another effect that these contaminants cause is weather change, which signifies a significant change from one climatic condition to some other. This happens when the emission of greenhouse gases capture the radiation emitted by the earth's surface which boosts the air heat range. A couple of predictions that this can cause changes including the melting of polar snow caps which could cause flooding in low-lying areas. The 'greenhouse result', as this is called, continues to increase as the emissions of the gases are increasing and the federal government is following a Kyoto Protocol targets in order to reduce these emissions. As well, the united kingdom launched a climate change program in 2000 with the aim of helping the UK to lessen greenhouse gas emissions by 12. 5% by 2012 also to reduce skin tightening and emissions by 20% by 2010. The reduction of greenhouse gas emission is performed through integrated pollution reduction and control permits.

The two main financial instruments used to battle climate change in the United Kingdom are the weather change levy and the countrywide emissions trading structure. The Environment Change Levy (CCL), which was created in the Fund Act 2000, is an energy usage duty that is levied on users in the professional and general public sector. There's also discount schemes set up, as well as an incentive to companies as they can reclaim 100% of capital allowance for energy efficient products within the first year of expenses.

The nationwide emissions trading scheme is a voluntary solution which started in 2002 and aims to lessen greenhouse gas emissions by allowing members to buy and sell allowances to produce emissions. The system was devised by the Emissions Trading Specialist. The allowances are based on specific reduction target decided on by the participants. One of the critiques of the design is the fact that any decrease in emissions is definitely not linked to the trading scheme.

Current Legislation

Air air pollution is a challenging section of environmental law to modify. This is because emissions can diffuse quickly and it can be difficult to identity the sources of pollution. Although the united kingdom government has been accused to be reactive rather than proactive in relation to environmental regulation, the federal government has passed various laws in order to combat polluting of the environment.

The to begin such regulations was handed in response to the Great London Smog, and called the Clean Air Action 1956. The work aimed to protect the environment by controlling and reducing sources of smoke pollution including smoke, dirt, and fumes from all fires and furnaces by launching smokeless areas in the town. This work was supplemented by the Clean Air Action 1968, and both acts were consolidated in the Clean Air Work 1993.

As well, The Environment Act 1995 contains lots of provisions which enabled the development of various policies on polluting of the environment. It requires all local regulators in the united kingdom to review and assess air quality in their area. If any requirements are unlikely to be attained by the required night out, then that area will be selected an QUALITY OF AIR Management Area (AQMA) and the neighborhood authority must put into action an action plan aimed at reducing levels of the pollutant. Furthermore, some local specialists have implemented specific bye regulations to control sources of polluting of the environment. However, these can be difficult to enforce because surveillance is complicated and it is challenging to find those liable.

In terms of traffic control, the Road Traffic Reduction Function 1997 places a duty on local regulators to constantly review traffic levels on streets also to produce focuses on for reducing traffic amounts. Local authorities have the power to do this by issuing Traffic Legislation Orders (TROs) which can be used to accomplish air quality aims by restricting traffic using areas. Also, under the Move Act 2000, every local transportation expert must create Local Travel Programs (LTP) which give details for promoting public carry and charging levies to vehicle uses.

Finally, the Air Quality (England) Regulations 2000 pieces down the goals for quality of air in each area starting from the finish of 2003 to 2008. These goals are to lessen the main contaminants of concern and are set in relation to the effect on individuals health, as well as its effect on the environment generally.


The National QUALITY OF AIR Strategy is the primary policy that places out UK air quality standards and objectives for reducing degrees of health-threatening pollutants and maintaining or improving air quality levels. Its electric power originates from section 80 of the surroundings Take action 1995. The degrees of reduction have been place based on technological and medical data on medical effects of the many pollutants, and matching to how realistic the specifications to be satisfied are. Many of these standards are the product of UK incorporation of Western european law. The goals laid out by the strategy are usually achieved by pollution control legislation through the setting up of emission restrictions. However, though the environment act provides a power to suggest requirements, the strategy has no statutory make.

The system of Integrated Pollution Protection and Control (IPPC) is the key form of pollution regulation in the UK, and gets its electric power under environmentally friendly Protection Take action 1990. It aspires to ensure that alternatives that have a confident effect on one section of the environment, doesn't have a negative impact on another i. e. to have significantly more integrated solutions. The machine entails issuing a permit and conditions derive from the use of Best Available Techniques (BAT), which balances the expenses of avoiding environmental impacts against benefits to the environment. In which a breach of lawfully binding EU quality of air limit principles is caused by a particular industrial assembly or sector, more strict permit limitations than BAT can be enforced. Several smaller installations are covered by Local Authority Pollution Elimination and Control (LAPPC), which regulates emissions to air only.

The Precautionary and Preventative Principles

These concepts are ways of protecting the environment from destruction. This precautionary principle states that safety measures should be studied to protect real human health and the surroundings, even in the event of too little evidence of harm brought on. However, critics say it does not designate how much extreme care should be taken. Aswell week precaution, which is utilized in the united kingdom, only requires protective measures to be taken when the balance of cost and benefits justifies doing this. This fundamentally means that persons can cause environmental harm so long as it is just a net gainer to do so, which does not let the open public know the importance of protecting the surroundings. The preventative concept is more widely acceptable. It declares that the destruction should be averted in advance somewhat than looked after after the fact. In addition, it requires the precautionary measures to be predicated on scientific standards. Thus, it is more likely to be accepted by big corporations as it is a far more proven measure.

The Polluter Pays Principle

The polluter pays principle is a policy produced by the EC. This means that the individual or company that triggered the air pollution should purchase the price tag on the pollution. This includes direct and indirect costs as well as costs incurred by avoiding pollution. However is should be observed that this basic principle, though followed, does not have any statutory pressure. This coverage has major criticism since it is hard to determine the limits on repayment for damage induced. It is also difficult to identify the polluter. In most instances, only certain polluters are targeted which brings tough criticism and questions the validity of the coverage. As well, it may supply the impression that pollution is acceptable so long as you shell out the dough which sends the wrong message.


The only way that all these legislations and initiatives will continue to work in today's society is when there is a greater focus on public awareness of the effects of polluting of the environment on the environment. The most effective starting point in combating polluting of the environment is by wanting to reduce emissions in automobiles, as well as lowering the amount of vehicles. This is done through the campaign of public transfer and carpooling. Also, there must be more encouragement of buying local goods, as the longer the distance that goods are transported, the more polluting of the environment is generated. Thus, if more folks consumed locally produced goods it would go quite a distance in reducing polluting of the environment and improving quality of air. Finally, if people pull the plug on their gadgets when they aren't with them and use energy-saving light bulbs, they can save well on their electricity charge as well as reduce the amount of contaminants that are emitted into the air. Therefore, if less electricity is used then less electric power is produced and fewer contaminants will be released into the air.


The environment is actually very important for various reasons, and every effort must be produced to safeguard it to the best extent possible. It can be seen that air pollution has a significant negative impact on human health, wildlife, architecture and the surroundings in general. That is mostly induced by certain individuals activities and by reducing them we can improve quality of air. These improvements include taking non-vehicle method of vehicles, buying locally produced goods, switching off electronic equipment and purchasing energy-saving light bulbs. However, polluting of the environment is a difficult region of environmental regulation to get around, as the number of polluters and the sources of pollutants are mixed and difficult to personal information.

It is important to continue improvements of quality of air in the united kingdom, especially in light of approaching events such as the Olympics in 2012. As Philip Mulligan, Chief Executive of Environmental Safeguard UK, said:

"With current concerns regarding the air quality in Beijing for the Olympics this summer, it is merely fitting that London will take steps to ensure that quality of air standards are found in the capital, with time for the 2012 games. "

It is important that the uk is seen as a leader in protecting the environment, as a lot of countries look the united kingdom for guidance on important issues such as these.

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