The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has recently enhanced its ability to measure ambient fine particulates. There are, however, some technical limitations in the methods available to measure low levels of fine particulate emissions in the stacks of incinerators. Monitoring of fine particulates in these circumstances is a specialised technique which only a small number of companies are able to provide. SEPA works with the applicants for environmental permits for thermal combustion activities to agree appropriate methods for measuring emissions, including fine particulates, and to predict how emissions might affect local air quality. SEPA also arranges for independent monitoring teams to carry out regular monitoring of stack emissions from incinerators, including the measurement of fine particulates. Results from this monitoring programme are publicly available from SEPA.
Local authorities in Scotland regularly review and assess air quality in their areas against objectives for a number of pollutants of concern for human health, including fine particulates. This is supported by monitoring undertaken for the Scottish Government to comply with EU legislation on air quality. The number of sites at which air quality monitoring takes place has increased markedly in recent years.