Air Pollution: Standards

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 16 November 2023.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Labour, Manchester, Gorton

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she expects the World Health Organization’s Air Quality Guideline levels for (a) PM2.5 and (b) NO2 pollution to be met.

Photo of Robbie Moore Robbie Moore The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The WHO air quality guidelines are intended to inform the setting of air quality standards and are not ready-made targets for adoption as they do not take into account achievability or individual countries’ circumstances. For example, our evidence strongly suggests that the 2021 WHO guideline level for PM2.5 is not possible to achieve in many locations in England due to the level of natural PM2.5 and pollution blown in from outside the country. We do consider the WHO guidelines as part of an evidence led process when setting new air quality targets including the recently set PM2.5 targets which support continuous improvement in PM2.5 levels up to 2040. Our priority for NO2 remains working with local authorities to take action to achieve compliance with current NO2 limits in the shortest possible time.

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