Proposed programme to provide local air quality information

Date released: Oct 11 2016, 11:00 AM

 
Proposed programme to provide local air quality information

 

  • EPA consultation paper – National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme 2017-2022 released today.
  • The proposed expansion of the national ambient air quality monitoring programme will provide comprehensive, localised air quality information linked to public health advice.
  • The consultation paper and executive summary are available on the EPA website www.airquality.epa.ie. Views and comments should be submitted to airqualityprogramme@epa.ie by 25th November 2016.


The consultation paper National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme 2017-2022 provides a roadmap for the overall development of ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland over the next five years. Key elements include providing:

  • Accessible, health advice linked to air quality information 
  • An air quality forecast for the following 24 and 48 hours
  • An expanded network of air monitoring stations providing real-time information to the public. 

The EPA continually monitors air quality across Ireland and provides the air quality index for health and real-time results on the website at www.airquality.epa.ie. Results are updated hourly on the website, and you can log on at any time to check whether the current air quality in your locality is good, fair or poor.

Through expanding the current national air monitoring programme, the EPA aims to provide the public with more comprehensive, localised air quality information linked to public health advice.  The programme will have an increased capacity to model and to provide a forecast of predicted air quality. Supporting these elements will be citizen engagement and citizen science initiatives to encourage greater understanding and involvement by the public in air quality issues, according to the consultation paper launched by the EPA today.

Highlighting the importance of this to Irish people’s health EPA Director Dr Micheál Lehane said:

“The impacts of poor air quality on human health are well understood. Although levels of air pollutants in Ireland are generally in line with EU standards, levels of fine dust particles and ozone above the World Health Organisation air quality guideline values have been measured at a number of monitoring stations. The proposed expanded national monitoring network will ultimately provide the public with improved, accessible information about their local air quality linked to health impact information.”

Patrick Kenny, EPA Air Quality Manager said,

“Following a comprehensive review, we are asking the public for their views on a new national monitoring programme. The proposed programme aims to provide an ongoing air quality forecast to the public, allowing people to make informed choices about their work and leisure activities. ”


View the consultation paper and executive summary on the EPA website. Views and comments should be submitted to airqualityprogramme@epa.ie by 25th November 2016.

Notes to Editor:

The proposed new national ambient air quality monitoring programme will consist of three main pillars along with under-pinning supporting actions:

  • A greatly expanded 80 station national ambient air quality monitoring network
  • Modelling and forecasting capability
  • Citizen engagement and citizen science initiatives

The expanded national monitoring network will be organised into three tiers:

  • Tier 1 – A core network of CAFE directive monitoring stations upgraded to provide additional automatic real-time PM information
  • Tier 2 – A greatly expanded Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) network. This will consist of the existing CAFE network, the existing automatic EMEP network and a further 35 sites, providing a station based index
  • Tier 3 – Indicator air quality monitoring at a local level involving local authorities. To be progressed initially at 14 sites and expanded further from there

The accompanying executive summary and consultation document present the current status of Air Quality Monitoring and Reporting in Ireland, along with the recommended option for the development of ambient air quality monitoring over the next five years.

EPA Air Quality Index for Health

The EPA Air Quality Index for Health www.airquality.epa.ie is a web-based index, developed in conjunction with the Health Service Executive, Met Éireann and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government that shows what the current air quality is across Ireland. The Air Quality Index for Health is a coloured scale divided into 4 bands: Good; Fair; Poor and Very poor, with health advice provided for each band.  The Twitter feed @EPAAirQuality keeps the public up to date with air quality in their region.

World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality guidelines

The WHO has developed these guidelines to inform policy makers and provide appropriate air quality targets worldwide, based on the latest health information available. These guidelines are more stringent than the EU air quality standards.

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