Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Air Quality update

We had an interesting Air Quality forum meeting last night.  This forum is a sub group of the Ince Resource Recovery Forum with the specific remit to look at Air Quality.  We had representatives from CWaC, Environment Agency and Public Health England present at the forum along with community representatives, councillors and representatives from Peel.  That said I was the only CWaC Councillor present.

I was very pleased to hear the praise given both to CWaC and to Lynn and me personally on this issue  from the Environment Agency, Public Health England and CWaC's environmental health officer.  The  Environment Agency see the CWaC continuous air quality monitoring and near instantaneous on-line reporting as being an example of what other councils should follow.  Halton, Knowsley and Liverpool City Council take note!  A representative of Peel also thanked me privately - and for helping Peel 'do the right thing.'

Public Health England are delighted to be taking part in a real forum bringing together industry, independent experts and community representatives.  They, like me, recognise that the issue is not just a matter of monitoring data, it is also a question of community perception and community confidence and crucially independent assessment of the air quality data.

Since April 2014 we have had continuous air quality monitoring in Frodsham.  Lynn and I part funded the equipment being brought to Frodsham out of 'our' members' grants.  We wanted to get baseline data ahead of the Ineos incinerator being commissioned and ahead of any of the Peel Holdings incinerators being built at Ince.  We've achieved both of these things.

The monitoring station is at Manor House Primary School on Langdale Way.  If you are interested in seeing the data you can on-line at:

http://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/pests_pollution_food_safety/pollution_and_air_quality/real-time_monitoring_graphs.aspx

The green cabinets show the continuous air monitoring locations and the tube shows a background pollutants monitor.  If you click on the cabinets etc whilst on the CWaC website you can see the current air monitoring data

This snapshot shows the pollution data and Manor House school at 07:00 this morning

On the website you can find real time data on Nitrogen Oxides, Sulphur Dioxide and particulates (PM10s).


You can also find diffusion tube data too showing the 17 locations in Frodsham where we either have or are monitoring air quality - especially the air quality associated with traffic pollution.  Ever since I was elected in 2007 air quality in Frodsham has been a priority for me - hence the 17 air monitoring locations!  You can find that data here:

http://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/residents/pests_pollution_food_safety/pollution_and_air_quality/air_quality_monitoring/diffusion_tube_sites_frodsham.aspx

The blue tubes show monitors within 5m of the kerbside, the orange one is a tube within 1m of the kerbside 
Frodsham's air quality is amongst the most closely monitored in the Borough.

All the data shows that our air quality is very good - and typical of what is expected in the country as a whole.  The only issue we have is traffic pollution with the Fluin Lane/A56 junction being our pollution hotspot.  I also monitor air quality via an app on my iphone linked to the European Citeair index and netatmo weather sensors I have around the place. It is always interesting to see the correlation between the different indicators.

It would appear that industry isn't an issue for us.  That said we can't be complacent about these issues and we do need to keep monitoring so we are in a place to detect any potential problems in the future.

I checked with Public Health England that we were monitoring the right parameters.  They confirmed that we are - although there is an increasing awareness that we should look to monitor even smaller particulates - the PM2.5s.  If I am in a position to influence this going forward I will be looking to have our air monitoring improved further - such as monitoring for these very small particles.

Incidentally CWaC will be producing an annual report on air quality which will include Frodsham later this year.

Peel have just submitted their proposals for continuous air monitoring in and around the Mersey Estuary to go along side their Ince Resource Recovery Park development.  They have said they are committed to permanent off site air quality monitoring.  They have accepted the representations Lynn and I have made to them that it is important for them, their clients, and more importantly all of us who live in and around the Mersey Estuary to have off site monitoring and public access and public scrutiny of the air quality data.

Practical politics delivering for Frodsham when and where it really matters.