Air Pollution

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 23rd May 2022.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Office of National Statistics publication on Air quality statistics in the UK, 1987 to 2021 - Particulate matter (PM10/PM2.5), for what reason levels of urban background PM2.5 pollution stagnated between 2015 and 2019.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

PM2.5 concentrations recorded by the national monitoring network have fallen by 57% between 1997 and 2021. This decrease is not uniform and does not always align with emission reductions, since concentrations are impacted by a wide range of meteorological and socio-economic factors. There are natural, domestic and international sources of emissions.

While emissions of PM2.5 are on a long term downward trend, between 2015 and 2019 total emissions remained relatively unchanged, falling by 1%. Throughout this period, emissions from road transport sources were estimated to have dropped by 14%. However, emissions from domestic combustion increased 15%, within which there was a 29% increase in emissions from the use of wood as a fuel. Additionally, emissions from combustion in the manufacturing and combustion sector were estimated to have increased by 7%, which is predominantly from the combustion of biomass.

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