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Air quality networks

Air quality networks – beyond compliance assessment

The measurement team has led the formation and co-ordination of a number of regional air quality monitoring networks in south-east England as well as playing a key role in the management of two national research networks on behalf of Defra. 

Coordinating measurements in this way enhances the understanding of the sources of air pollution and improves public information; it also and allows local authorities to share costs of maintenance and quality assurance.

The London Air Quality Network (LAQN)

The LAQN was formed in 1993 in conjunction with the London Boroughs and Regional Health Authorities to coordinate and improve air pollution monitoring in London. Currently, the LAQN comprises over 100 continuous monitoring sites in the majority of London’s 33 boroughs and is an essential resource to air quality managers in the capital. 

The LAQN also includes measurements from local authorities in the Home Counties, thereby providing an overall perspective of air pollution in the surrounding areas. Through our role as network managers we provide technical support and comprehensive measurement quality assurance and quality control to local authority air quality monitoring activities.

Regional Air Quality Networks

We have worked with local government partnerships in Kent and Medway, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire and Sussex to form regional air pollution monitoring networks.

Our IT Services team developed the Essex Air website and we assist with their data management services.

National Networks

We act as management unit to 15 local authority sites affiliated to Defra’s UK Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN), the main network used for compliance reporting against the Ambient Air Quality Directives. Part of this work program involves the management and operation of Defra’s Marylebone Road ‘Supersite’.

Research Networks

Reflecting a greater emphasis on research measurements in recent years, we currently manage two national particle monitoring networks for Defra in conjunction with the National Physical Laboratory. 

The UK Particle Numbers and Concentrations network is Defra’s main particle research network. This includes particle number counts (including size segregated) and automatic and laboratory chemical speciation of particulate matter composition. The Black Carbon network uses aethalometers at a number of sites across the UK.

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