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With news on: AQE 2013 show; infant birth defect study; Bristol and Glasgow award shortlist, and; approval of York, Luton and Beverley congestion schemes

AQE 2013 show sees growth in visitors

The Air Quality and Emissions (AQE) Show 2013 in Telford last month attracted three times the number of registered visitors compared to the previous event in 2011, according to the event organisers.

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Air Monitors’ Jim Mills (L) reeives the award from AQE organiser Marcus Pattison (R)

Organisers said thousands of visitors attended the two-day event, with air quality technology specialists Air Monitors attracting the highest number of registrations. The firm was awarded a £1,000 cheque by organisers as a result.

Jim Mills, managing director of Air Monitors, said: “We were naturally delighted to win the competition, but for us, the greatest reward was the success of the event – our workshops were full to bursting and our stand was extremely busy throughout.

“We launched two new technologies at AQE 2013, both of which generated enormous interest. The new ambient air monitoring system, AQMesh, looks set to revolutionise the way air quality is monitored, and the FIDAS particulates monitor will provide much greater insight into the pollutant that is responsible for the most premature deaths.”

AQE organiser Marcus Pattison said: “Air Monitors made a tremendous contribution to the advance publicity, so I am naturally delighted to present this cheque in recognition of their outstanding efforts.”

The two-day conference in Shropshire featured a number of speakers from across industry and government, as well as workshops and an exhibition for air monitoring firms. Speakers included King’s College London Professor Frank Kelly (see airqualitynews.com story) and air quality consultant for Defra Brian Stacey (see airqualitynews.com story).

Bookings have now opened for the next AQE show in 2015, taking place on 22-23 April. More information is available on the AQE website.

Air pollution linked to birth defects

Early maternal exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause birth defects in infants, according to a study led by academics at Stanford University, California.

The study, which looked at birth defect data of women living in California’s San Joaquin Valley, reported a link between neural tube defects and exposure to carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and nitrogen dioxide during the first two months of pregnancy.

Data used in the study was collected between 1997 and 2006 for 806 mothers who had babies or foetuses with birth defects and 849 women whose infants did not.

It showed that mothers with the highest exposure to carbon monoxide during the first eight weeks of pregnancy were almost twice as likely to have babies with neural tube defects as those with the lowest exposure.

The study, ‘The Association of Ambient Air Pollution and Traffic Exposures With Selected Congenital Anomalies in the San Joaquin Valley of California’, was published online on the American Journal of Epidemiology website last week (March 28).

It was funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Science, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bristol and Glasgow shortlisted for Green award

Bristol and Glasgow have been shortlisted alongside Brussels and Ljubljana as the four finalists for the annual European Green Capital Award 2015, the European Commission has announced.

An independent panel of 12 experts assessed each city on the basis of 12 indicators, including the quality if ambient air, local transport and the quality of the acoustic environment.

Other indicators include local contribution to global climate change; green areas incorporating sustainable land use; nature and biodiversity; waste production and management; water consumption; waste water treatment; eco innovation and sustainable employment; environmental management of the local authority; and energy performance.

The finalists must now present their communication strategy to the judging panel in Brussels on May 24 2013, before the winner is announced at the official award ceremony in the current European Green Capital of Nantes, France, on June 14 2013. Five cities in total have previously been awarded the title.

In February 2013, national limits for nitrogen dioxide were reported to have been breached at a site in Glasgow in 2012 (see airqualitynews.com story), while a Bristol city councillor last month called for the introduction of a low emission zone in Bristol due to high levels of traffic emissions (see airqualitynews.com story).

York, Luton and Beverley congestion schemes approved

Multi-million pound schemes to cut traffic in York, Luton and Beverley have been given final approval by local transport minister Norman Baker on Thursday (March 28).

York has had a scheme to reduce congestion approved by the government

A scheme to reduce congestion in York has been approved by the government

A £15.3 million project in York includes the construction of two new park and ride sites as well as an upgrade of the A59/A1237 roundabout on the outer ring road and bus priority measures on routes into the city centre.

A 1.8 mile southern relief road is also set to be constructed as part of a £16.3 million scheme to reduce congestion in Beverley. The Beverley scheme will also see a new transport interchange at the railway station and bus priority measures towards the town centre.

In Luton, meanwhile, £15.9 million plans to improve transport links in the town centre were also approved. The plans include the construction of a link road to complete the inner ring road and changes to traffic circulation on the north side of the town centre.

The schemes were given funding by the Department for Transport (DfT) in December 2011 as part of the spending review process. More information is available on the DfT website.

Commenting on the York scheme, Mr Baker said: “This scheme will help York’s economy continue to grow by ensuring that movement around the city is as efficient and sustainable as possible. The £15.3 million we are putting into this project shows that the coalition government is serious about both investing in the infrastructure the country needs to drive economic growth and supporting measures to ease congestion and cut carbon.”

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