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.
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.