Issue date: 11 October 2002
Professor Jim Longhurst (FAS) is the invited UK Representative and keynote speaker at an international conference on air quality in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 21-25 October. Professor Longhurst will give a keynote speech on ‘A critical evaluation of Local Air Quality Management framework in Great Britain. Is it a transferable process?’
The International conference and workshop on urban air quality management is organised by the International Union of Pollution Prevention Associations in Sao Paulo to mark the conclusion of the Rio + 10 Sustainable development process and the Johannesburg Summit. Selected experts from Europe and North America will work alongside representatives from major metropolitan areas in South America and Asia to explore key themes in urban air quality management including the transferability of aspects of current best practice.
Professor Longhurst said, “ Sao Paulo is a very relevant location for the conference. It is a rapidly expanding city and the industrial heartland of Brazil. Consequently it suffers from severe episodes of air pollution. There are already elements of air quality management in Sao Paulo but the integrated framework that operates in the UK offers a new way of thinking about, and acting on urban air pollution. The AQM framework and process in Great Britain is provided by The Environment Act 1995 which places a series of duties and responsibilities upon local authorities to review and assess actual air quality against a set of air quality objectives. These objectives include air quality objectives for lead, carbon monoxide, 1,3-butadiene, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, benzene and particulate matter. In areas where air quality is poor the Act requires the local authority to develop an action plan detailing measures to be taken and a timescale when the measures will be implemented.
“The Government has a duty under the act to provide support and guidance and this has to date included high quality monitoring networks, the development of emissions inventories, training for local authority personnel and finance for equipment and technical resources. A key component has been the development of web, telephone and email help desks and support material for the air quality manager working in a local authority. These sorts of support are expensive and technically complex and thus may be beyond the financial resources of some countries to provide. However, the support package can be built up incrementally in a way that reflects the needs and resources of the country and city in question.”
Professor Longhurst recently visited China to advise on air quality issues for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. A number of recommendations were made which mirror the process used in Britain.