For minutes of past meetings, please contact the AQEG Secretariat.

Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5) in the UK

Particulate matter (PM) is the term used to describe condensed phase (solid or liquid) particles suspended in the atmosphere. Their potential for causing health problems is directly linked to the size of the particles. A growing body of research has pointed towards the smaller particles, in particular PM less than 2.5 µm in diameter (PM2.5), as a metric that is more closely associated with adverse health effects than other metrics such as PM10.

The PM2.5 in the UK report, prepared by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) for Defra and the Devolved Administrations gives an overview of the evidence base for PM2.5 in the UK. The report challenges the robustness of the evidence for making future policy decisions in respect of PM2.5 in the UK context. There is an analysis of the evidence concerning key relevant aspects including PM2.5 measurement and the composition and current concentrations of PM2.5 across the UK, as well as source emissions and receptor modelling for PM2.5. Finally, AQEG evaluates the methods for modelling PM2.5 and what can be said about future concentrations. The report concludes with an assessment of the key uncertainties and gaps in the evidence base that require action.

Understanding PM10 in Port Talbot

AQEG was asked by Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government to provide an independent expert opinion on:

“What methodologies or approaches are required to advance the evidence base in order to assess the impact of the different current particle sources within the Port Talbot area on the resultant particulate matter (PM) levels in the local area?”

AQEG reviewed a range of evidence, including published reports and material gathered at a public evidence session held at Port Talbot. In the advice note AQEG make a series of recommendations intended to provide guidance on the future evidence gathering in Port Talbot to better understand the sources of PM10.

The Welsh Government has respond to AQEG on the recommendations made in the report

Road Transport Biofuels: Impact for UK Air Quality

This advice note looks at recent trends in biofuel consumption in the UK and summarises the effects of biofuels on vehicle emissions and air quality based on current evidence. The advice note addresses only the direct effects of consumption of biofuels on air quality in the UK resulting from end of tailpipe emissions.

AQEG recognise that tailpipe emissions are only one of many aspects which need to be considered in the full context of biofuel production and use and is not meant to diminish the importance of wider sustainability issues, both in the UK and globally.

AQEG conclude that consumption of biofuels as low strength blends up to 15% has little effect on air quality, but further research on the effects of high strength blends on emissions is required if their consumption were to be encouraged.

Older publications

Particulate matter in the UK

Nitrogen Dioxide in the UK

For copies of old reports and publications published by the Air Quality Expert Group, please contact the AQEG secretariat.

Page last modified: 20 December 2012