Technology "key" to cleaner Anglo-Welsh air

Official air quality review stresses need for environmental integration in energy policy

England and Wales must shift towards cleaner forms of energy and do more to improve vehicle fuel efficiency and reduce road traffic, according to a new report from the Anglo-Welsh Environment Agency. The atmospheric assessment says that clean technologies rather than "end of pipe" abatement must be the key to improving air quality and addressing climate change.

Environmental concerns need to be integrated into energy policy to favour renewables and improve energy efficiency, the report concludes. It complains that, while industry has significantly reduced energy consumption in the last two decades, the cuts have been offset by consumption increases in households, transport and the service sector. It predicts a shortfall in energy supply as reliance on nuclear and coal power is reduced and before sufficient clean sources come on stream.

Other priorities include paying more attention to air quality issues in regional and national planning and tackling the problems of road traffic. "The need remains to improve the efficiency of road transport, reduce private car use and provide better alternative public transport," says the report.

The key air pollutants in England and Wales are ground-level ozone, fine particles, acidification by sulphur and nitrogen and eutrophication (nutrient enrichment) by nitrogen. Reductions have been achieved recently, but acidification and eutrophication will remain a problem, as will rural ozone pollution, the report says. Particulate levels will exceed safety levels in some urban areas, it adds.

Follow Up:
Anglo-Welsh environment agency, tel: +44 1454 624 400. The study is entitled "The State of the Environment in England and Wales: The Atmosphere".

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