Until recently, the main culprits behind urban air pollution have been particulates, sulphur dioxide and ground level ozone. But regulatory success in reducing emissions of the first two means that ozone is now the main cause of poor air quality in all areas. Mr Meacher acknowledged that ozone levels varied considerably according to weather patterns and that wet weather in 2000 had contributed to the observed fall compared with 1999. He also noted that there was still no evidence of a downward trend in rural air pollution.
Alongside the monitoring data, the minister launched a public consultation on improving public information on air quality.
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