The Environment Act 1995 and subsequent Regulations require Local Authorities to review and assess air quality in their area by the production of Updating and Screening Assessments every three years and annual Progress Reports for the intervening years. This Review and Assessment procedure represents the system for Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) which itself represents the main methodology in the UK Government's and the Devolved Administrations strategies to achieve relevant air quality objectives for Benzene, 1,3 Butadene, Carbon Monoxide, Lead, Nitrogen Dioxide, Particles and Sulphur Dioxide.
Pembrokeshire County Council carries out monitoring a range of locations within the County. The methods employed for monitoring include passive diffusion tubes, active samplers and real-time automatic analysers. The Authority manages a continuous monitoring site at Narberth which is affiliated to the UK Automatic Urban and Rural Network (operated by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). The Welsh Air Quality Forum website provides direct access to real-time and historic monitoring data along with relevant air quality information.
If LAQM identifies an exceedance of an objective then the Local Authority must define an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and attempt to develop a strategy to reduce the pollutant of concern. Presently motor vehicle emissions are presenting the greatest challenge for Local Authorities throughout the UK.
The Council remains committed to obtaining information on air quality in the area, and to carrying out its local air quality management duties, including the ongoing review and assessment of air quality in the County.
In pursuing its duty and commitment to monitor and improve local air quality in relation to public health and the environment the Local Authority have recognised two Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) in Pembrokeshire; within the commercial main street areas of Haverfordwest and Pembroke. Road traffic is the principle contributor of emissions resulting in the declaration of the AQMA's due to the high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. Both the locations are subject to the "canyon effect" where there are high sided buildings on either side of a narrow road which results in a low available dispersion of the local air. This has resulted in an exceedance of the European Union annual mean Air Quality Objective for nitrogen dioxide of 40µg/m³ taking place. Declaration and assessment of an AQMA identifies the extent of the affected area and enables the Local Authority to develop an Air Quality Action Plan to explore short and long-term measures to improve the air quality and comply with the relevant air quality objective.
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