To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding he has allocated to air pollution alert systems in each of the last three years; and what steps he has taken to locate those systems in (a) schools, (b) hospitals and (c) nurseries.
Air quality is a devolved matter.
In England, the government is committed to making sure the best independent evidence and information on pollution events is available to the public. As part of this commitment a five-day air quality forecast service from the Met Office is available to the public on Defra’s UK Air website. It provides up-to-date information on air pollution, and alerts during periods of elevated pollution. The latest real world measurements from monitoring sites are also available. The cost of providing this forecasting and dissemination platform is just over £1m.
The national network of air quality monitors currently comprises 282 sites across the UK and is managed by the Environment Agency. Sites are organised into networks that gather information for a wide range of pollutants in towns and cities as well as in rural areas. Monitoring stations for key pollutants are sited in accordance with criteria set out in the EU Air Quality Directive to ensure measurements are representative and also comparable across all member states. The 9 National monitoring networks cost just under £6m per year to operate.
As part of the Clean Air Strategy we are looking at providing a messaging system to inform the public about the air quality forecast, providing clearer information on air pollution episodes and accessible health advice.
Local authorities also have requirements to monitor air pollution.
The government provides guidance, including helpdesk advice, to local authorities on the appropriate type of monitoring to install. Where local authorities conduct air quality monitoring, they are expected to site monitors in accordance with local and national priorities, which may include schools and other locations where there is high risk of public exposure.