§ Mr. Meacher
The Government's policies on air quality standards and objectives are set out in the air quality strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, published in January 2000. We consulted in September 2001 on proposals to tighten our policy objectives for three pollutants (carbon monoxide, benzene and particulate matter) and to introduce for the first time a policy objective for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
The National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (available at www.aeat.co.uk/netcen/airqual) records UK emissions to air of all key pollutants. 1999 is the latest year for which comprehensive data for both the UK and Teesside are available. Nationally, emissions of most air pollutants fell significantly between 1990 and 1999, as table 1 shows. 666W
Table 1: National emissions Pollutant> Emissions in 1990 (kilotonnes) Emissions in 1999 (kilotonnes) Percentage reduction Sulphur dioxide 3754 1187 68 Oxides of nitrogen 2760 1605 42 Particles (PM 10) 305 186 39 Carbon monoxide 7160 4760 34 Lead 2.831 0.55 81 Benzene 54.42 29.69 45 1,3 butadiene 13.31 6.17 54
Table 2 gives a summary of the emissions of key pollutions in Teeside in 1999.
Table 2: Emissions in Teesside Pollutant Emissions in Teesside in 1999 (kilotonnes) Percentage of national total Sulphur dioxide 36.997 3.1 Oxides of nitrogen 39.639 2.5 Particles (PM 10) 4.969 2.7 Carbon monoxide 185.805 3.9 Lead 0.018 3.3 Benzene 0.657 2.2 1,3 butadiene 0.231 3.7
Information on air quality levels in Teesside and the rest of the country is also available at www.aeat.co.uk/netcen/airqual. This information is updated on an hourly basis. Figures for the year 2001 show that across the country as a whole the average number of days of moderate or poor air quality recorded by individual monitoring stations in urban areas of the UK was 21 days. This total has declined steadily over the last decade as measures to deliver cleaner air have started to take effect.
There are four automatic air quality monitoring sites in Teesside affiliated to the national air quality monitoring network. These are at Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Middlesbrough. The average number of days of moderate or poor air quality recorded in 2001 at each of these four sites was 16 days. This figure is lower than the national average.
§ Mr. Meacher
There are currently four automatic and 11 non-automatic air quality monitoring stations in the Teesside region. These are part of the UK air quality monitoring networks. In addition, a non-automatic benzene monitor has recently been installed in Middlesbrough as part of the UK non-automatic hydrocarbon monitoring network. There are currently no plans to increase the number of automatic monitoring stations in the region. I am not aware of any plans to further increase the number of non-automatic stations in the region, which are the responsibility of local authorities.