In early 2002, the Welsh Assembly Government provided additional funds to Environment Agency Wales to purchase and operate a mobile air quality laboratory. The Laboratory is now available to be deployed throughout Wales to identify air quality issues relating to major industry or in support of Local Authority Air Quality Management. The Lab is deployed in addition to existing Environment Agency equipment available throughout England and Wales.
The laboratory comprises a double axle "ground-hog" containing a comprehensive array of analysers for continuous monitoring of a range of pollutants. In addition to equipment for monitoring for PM-10, SO2 and NOx, it also has the capability of continuous monitoring for CO, H2S, Methane and a range of VOCs. A weather station measures Barometric Pressure, Temperature, Relative Humidity, Wind Direction and Wind Speed for source apportionment.
It is anticipated that the laboratory can be used to assess the effect of pollution from industrial premises regulated by Agency or Local Authorities, landfills, and road traffic on human health and natural habitats. The laboratory will be deployed in fixed positions in the community for 3 to 4 months so that variations in climatic conditions can be taken into account. Reports will be produced comparing the concentrations of pollutants against limit values in the National Air Quality Strategy and other guidelines.
Management and Operation
A management group has been set up with representatives from the Welsh Assembly Government, Welsh Air Quality Forum and the Agency to assess job requests and prioritises the work programme. The equipment is being operated and calibrated following LAQM Guidance and should therefore produce comparable data to AURN and Local Authority continuous monitoring stations.