The Environment Agency has met with Defra, the Greater London Authority (GLA), Transport for London (TfL), Network Rail, Crossrail and the London Borough of Ealing to discuss how to resolve air quality around Horn Lane in North Acton.
The air quality summit, organised by the Environment Agency and hosted by the Greater London Authority at City Hall, was held on June 17 to review the work being carried out to tackle the ongoing particulate pollution in the area.
This came after the air quality monitoring station, run by the London Borough of Ealing, continued to record a number of days with very high concentrations of particulate matter (PM10).
As a result of steps introduced by the Environment Agency, the number of days exceeding the PM10 daily limit value has been reduced from 230 in 2005 to 55 in 2011. These steps include amending the permits of the waste site operators to reduce the volume of activity, requiring better on-site management (e.g. wheel washing), and enclosing areas where activity takes place.
TfL have also funded a trial of innovative new dust suppressant technology which has reduced PM10 concentrations by between 31% and 59%. The next steps will be more challenging as multiple smaller sources of particulate pollution now need to be tackled to help with the overall reduction.
At the summit a detailed strategy was agreed which details all the sources of particulate pollution, the authority responsible for its regulation, what is being done to reduce the emissions, and when the work should be completed by. In addition, the two main regulatory bodies, the Environment Agency and London Borough of Ealing, have agreed to start weekly inspections with an additional joint visit every month.
In London these partnerships have become an important part of tackling particulate pollution with so many potential sources in such close proximity they are key to seeing improvements happen quickly and in a coordinated fashion. They have already proved successful in other locations across London.
The London Borough of Ealing is primarily responsible for air quality in the borough with the partner organisations only becoming involved when sources of air pollution they regulate are demonstrated to be contributing to the pollution. However, since 2006 all the members of the partnership have been making significant contributions and investing resources to the overall improvements at Horn Lane.
The Environment Agency will be providing additional monitoring equipment and data management services to allow all partners to target improvements more effectively. This is over and above the agency’s statutory duty and clearly demonstrates commitment to tackling the sources of particulate pollution.
Chris Lowe, a Pollution and Prevention Control Officer at the Environment Agency, said: “We have made some significant improvements to the air quality in the area of Horn Lane and we are committed to continue this good work.
“Sources such as the re-suspension of dust particles are having a much greater impact than before, and so this could be one explanation as to why the area has exceeded the air quality standard.
“Partnership members have regular meetings with residents and with the local MP, Angie Bray, to inform them of the work and what we are doing to help the area reach air quality targets.
“The sites the Environment Agency regulates already have bespoke permit conditions designed to control and minimise the potential for particulates to be generated. We are currently visiting the sites much more frequently to ensure they comply with the permit conditions at all times. This reinvigorated partnership will now allow all partners to focus actions on the various pollution sources and make sure improvements are realised.
“As a result of the summit meeting the London Borough of Ealing will be arranging a meeting with the partnership members and key local residents to update them on the work done so far and what is proposed in the strategy.”
John Freeman, Team Leader of the Pollution Technical Team at the London Borough of Ealing, said: “We are determined to take every possible step to achieve further progress in reducing air pollution in Horn Lane. It is vital that the gains made so far are not only sustained but are built upon as rapidly as possible through effective action across all the sites concerned. We look forward to working with our partners to make sure this happens.”
Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor of London’s Environment Advisor, said: “We strongly support the work of the partnership and we are pleased to see the various organisations working together to tackle the sources of particulate pollution.
“Air quality in London is a significant priority for the GLA and the Mayor will be offering the full support of the GLA and Transport for London to this renewed partnership.
“This is exactly the sort of joint partnership approach the Mayor believes can make significant progress in improving local air quality in our City.”
Network Rail has produced a leaflet on their actions to reduce particulate pollution at the Crossrail construction site to the west of the Acton main Line station.