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Air Quality Monitoring

Air pollution can emerge as a side effect of your development plans, either as a short-term impact of the tools you’ve used or the long-term repercussions of what you’ve constructed. Your local planning authority will be aware of the potential ramifications of your planning project, but through air quality monitoring, you can offer assurances and simplify planning decisions.

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Air Quality Monitoring Services

Pollutants present in the atmosphere can be the result of a multitude of both natural and man-made sources, such as aeroplanes, buses, cars, industrial facilities, factories, lorries, major roads, motorbikes, oil refineries, power plants, trains and countless other generators of substances that can contribute to higher levels of poor air quality.

Planning projects can suffer from significant pollution levels and equally cause emissions from the equipment and vehicles used during the process of undertaking the development plans. Through air quality monitoring, however, developers are able to demonstrate to the local council that their works will refrain from breaching planning regulations as part of the application for planning permission and gain information that will assure them of no issues with air quality that could otherwise hinder the aims of their development.

What is Air Quality Monitoring?

One of several forms of air quality assessment, air quality monitoring is a method of observing and analysing the standard of the atmosphere in a chosen location over multiple periods. Any changes to particulate matter in the air can then be identified and mitigation measures can be initiated to reverse the effects, prevent the situation from worsening and improve air quality moving forwards.

Although a potentially beneficial component in other circumstances, monitoring air quality is common in development, as it can be used to track changes to the environment throughout the development process over a minimum of three months. Even during this period alone, a development site will alter in real-time, leading to a different landscape and the use of a wide range of tools, all of which run the risk of hampering air pollution.

An air quality monitoring assessment will often be conducted as part of a broader air quality assessment, particularly if a development calls for exposure to new elements. For example, if more vehicles are needed on a planning project, it will likely lead to busy roads, and from a long-term perspective, the creation of new roads would be expected to trigger an increased volume of public transport in the future.

Why is Air Quality Monitoring Important?

Numerous materials dwelling in the atmosphere can generate harmful effects on nearby living organisms, and the potential level of danger is determined by a number of factors, including the qualities and quantities of the substance, the source of the emissions, and the feasibility of the location’s ability to deal with the air pollutants.

The possibility of hazardous emissions negatively impacting humans, animals and the environment as a whole has always been and continues to be a worrying likelihood, particularly as it is possible for various elements in the air to be breathed in and begin prompting health impacts. As concentrates can vary fluidly in real time, air quality monitoring allows experts to record and track current levels of air pollution.

Air Quality Monitoring Standards

Standard methods developed by the European Commission in conjunction with the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) ensure that professionals undertaking an inspection monitor air quality in a universal way and detail the minimum performance requirements during assessments, all within the Data Quality Objectives (DQO) from the Ambient Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC) of the Directive (EU) 2015/1480.

Following meetings across the EU regarding the effect of air quality levels, a number of standard methods were created to cover common pollutants that frequently induce poor air quality.

Listed standards include:

  • EN14662-1:2005 Benzene
  • EN14662-3:2015 Benzene
  • EN14626:2012 Carbon Monoxide
  • EN14211:2012 Nitrogen Oxide
  • EN14625:2012 Ozone
  • EN16450:2017 Automatic PM Analysers
  • EN12341:2014 PM10 and PM2.5
  • EN14212:2012 Sulphur Dioxide

DEFRA Air Quality Monitoring

Among many areas relating to the environment, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) remains involved in the regulation of air quality via the Environment Agency. As well as offering guidance for air quality monitoring accordingly, DEFRA also manages an estimated 300 national monitoring sites nationally and the way they are controlled and evaluated.

Types of Air Quality Monitoring

Whenever air quality is monitored, parameters consist of three different types of air pollution sensors:

Airly PM – for measuring PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 parameters and humidity, pressure and temperature

Airly PM and GAS type 1 – for measuring PM1, PM2.5, PM10, NO₂, O₃ and humidity, pressure and temperature

Airly PM and GAS type 2 – for measuring PM1, PM2.5, PM10, SO₂, CO and humidity, pressure and temperature

Air Quality Monitoring Methods

As set out by the UK’s compliance monitoring network known as the Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN), a typical air quality monitoring exercise would involve the following measurement techniques:

For ozone (O₃) – UV absorption

For nitric oxide/nitrogen dioxide (NO/NO₂) – chemiluminescence

For sulfur dioxide (SO₂) – UV fluorescence

For carbon monoxide (CO) – IR absorption

For PM10 and PM2.5 – beta attenuation monitor, filter dynamics measurement system (FDMS), fine dust analysis system (FIDAS) gravimetric monitor, optimal light scattering, and tapered element oscillating microbalance

Indoor Air Quality Monitoring

In addition to various practices in measuring the standard of the outdoor atmosphere, indoor air quality monitoring works to carry out the same service for inside buildings and other structures. It takes a similar approach in gathering ongoing data regarding chemicals, gasses and particles in the air, but with other considerations aside from health impacts such as detecting mould growth.

Elements that are commonly tested as causes of indoor air pollution include carbon dioxide (CO₂), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter such as PM10 and PM2.5. As with outdoor air quality monitoring, an interior inspection would also evaluate humidity, pressure and temperature, and both types of survey require several checks over a number of time periods to gauge changes to air quality.

Air Quality Monitoring Equipment

In order to obtain accurate data from a development site, highly specialised survey equipment is needed.

Tools utilised during an air quality monitoring assessment may include:

  • Air quality, air temperature, humidity, pressure, radiation, weather, wind and environmental visibility sensors
  • Ammonia, benzene, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, chemiluminescence, fluorescence, hydrogen sulfide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, toluene and xylene analyser
  • Black carbon, fog, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide and pollen monitors

  • Continuous gas and gas filter correlation analysers
  • Data loggers
  • Dilution calibrators
  • Efficiency testers
  • Enclosures
  • Gas calibrators
  • Mobile laboratories
  • Open path, particulate and solar farm monitors
  • Particle spectrometers
  • Precipitation gauges and samplers
  • Weather stations
  • Zero air systems

Air Quality Monitoring Solutions

Air Quality Monitoring Consultants

Without the input of consultants who possess experience carrying out air quality monitoring based on the national air quality network (AURN), the data will be unreliable, and not only will it fail in assisting the planning process, but it could also interfere with any planning applications that the assessment was originally intended to help with.

All of the air quality consultants we work with are trained, licensed and educated accordingly to offer the highest possible standard of service to all clients. Situated all over the country, the consultants can attend any location, and with capabilities in collecting, recording and deciphering air quality data, they are able to convert complex figures into tangible evidence to inform your development.

Cost of Air Quality Monitoring

Before we assemble a no-obligation quote for any clients that get in touch, we ask for details about the development site and planning project. Using these specifications, we can create an accurate estimation of your requirements in the form of a free quote and accurately establish how much air quality monitoring would cost for your needs.

We take the same approach for all assessments we provide. It starts with a baseline cost that all surveys have before adding on any additional costs that naturally arise based on the site and project. By doing this, we can make sure that you only pay for what you need to, avoiding circumstances where you’d have to pay the same for a development that is large and advanced as you would for one that is small and basic.

Request a Free Quote for your Development Site

Prior to committing to Arbtech as your provider of assessments to monitor air quality, you are able to look over a quote produced from your exact specifications. You can speak to us by visiting our contact page, calling the number at the top of this page, or filling out a quick quote form. Once you have received your quote, you can return it to us to give us the green light that you wish to instruct our team.

Our team will then work with you to map out the most effective times to visit your development site to observe the current levels of particular matter and air pollution over multiple periods. A compilation of data can then be assembled and put into an air quality monitoring report that the local authority will acknowledge as tangible and trustworthy information, helping them with granting applications for planning consent.

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