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5 Nov 2018Modelling future air quality scenarios for the fast-expanding smart city of Cambridge (UK)

Over the next three years, the CERC consultancy team will be working closely with Cambridge City Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) on initiatives to improve or maintain existing good air quality whilst managing sustainable growth for Greater Cambridge.

CERC will use EMIT and ADMS-Urban to compile an emissions inventory and model baseline and future air quality across the GCP area. We will apply source apportionment techniques to quantify the relative contribution of different sources of emissions to air, thus guiding proposals for effective interventions.

Road traffic emissions are the main source of air pollution in Cambridge. In 2004, the City Council declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) covering the central part of the city (see figure). Expected traffic growth could worsen air quality, so a key aim of the GCP is to propose a range of measures to tackle congestion and air quality issues.

CERC will assess proposed transport interventions by comparing the future baseline and future intervention scenarios, to inform the GCP of the effectiveness of different schemes.

Potential interventions include: Clean Air Zone options; changing to electric buses and taxis; altering bus routes; encouraging modal shift, e.g. car to bike; closing roads and road charging schemes.

25 Oct 20182000 health centres in areas exceeding WHO air quality guidelines

New analysis by the British Lung Foundation (BLF), and Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants (CERC), has revealed that more than 2,000 health centres in Great Britain, including major teaching hospitals, children's hospitals, clinics and doctor's surgeries are in areas which exceed recommended air pollution guidelines. Specifically, these health centres are in areas with average levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that are above the guideline recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) (10μg/m3 for the annual average).

CERC's analysis is based on predicted annual average PM2.5 data for 2018 published by the UK Government. These data have a spatial resolution of 1km x 1km and therefore represent 'background' levels of PM2.5. These data give an indication of expected PM2.5 levels at sufficient resolution to provide good evidence; however they do not capture hyperlocal spatial variations in PM2.5 levels caused by road traffic.

Postcodes for 1,457 hospitals and 8,532 doctor's surgeries in England, Scotland and Wales were extracted from the NHS digital database. (Northern Ireland was excluded from the scope of this research as NHS Digital does not contain postcodes for hospitals in Northern Ireland.) CERC found that 2,220 doctor's surgeries and 248 hospitals are in areas that exceed the WHO guideline.

In their report 'Toxic Air at the Door of the NHS' BLF are calling for the Government to put in place the right measures to ensure that no one breathes unsafe air, and to adopt the World Health Organisation's recommended guideline into UK law through the upcoming Environment Bill.


24 Oct 2018Modelling air pollution across the West Midlands (UK) using ADMS-Urban RML

CERC are participating in the West Midlands Air Quality Improvement Programme (WM-Air), by providing regional, local and coupled modelling of air pollution in this UK region.

The project aims to improve understanding of pollution sources and concentrations, with new capability to assess the air quality, health and economic consequences of possible policies on 2.8 million people. It will support specific case studies, ranging from major infrastructure projects such the HS2 high speed railway, to making effective use of Green Infrastructure (vegetation) in urban areas.

The UK scale modelling will be carried out using the mesoscale WRF meteorological model and the regional CMAQ chemistry-transport model. Local-scale ADMS-Urban modelling for urban centres across the West Midlands will be coupled to the UK scale modelling using the ADMS-Urban Regional Model Link (RML).

This NERC-funded project is led by Professor William Bloss at the University of Birmingham and is part of the Regional Impact from Science of the Environment (RISE) initiative. WM-Air will run for five years from October 2018 and includes partners from the University of Birmingham, local government, the NHS, transport organisations and commercial enterprises.

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