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PM10 and ozone levels up in 2013

Data published by Defra for 2013 shows that levels of particulate matter and ozone pollutants recorded across UK rose from levels recorded in 2012

Defra has today (April 23) published its latest annual air quality statistics, which show that recorded levels of particulate matter and ozone were higher in 2013 than during the previous 12 months.

Average ozone levels at urban background monitoring sites increased from 56 micrograms per cubic metre in 2012 to 60 micrograms in 2013, while rural monitoring sites recorded levels at 66 micrograms in 2012 and 70 micrograms in 2013.

Defra's report highlights pollutant levels measured in the UK in 2013

Defra’s report highlights pollutant levels measured in the UK in 2013

Meanwhile, levels of particulate matter recorded at urban background monitoring sites rose from 17 micrograms per cubic metre in 2012, to 18 micrograms per cubic metre in 2013 with levels recorded at roadside monitoring sites rising from 20 micrograms per cubic metre in 2012, to 21 micrograms per cubic metre in 2013.

However, the figures also indicate that there were on average fewer days of moderate or higher pollution at urban pollution monitoring sites in 2013 compared with 2012. The average number of pollution days declined in 2013 from 24 days in 2011 to 14 days in 2013, which, according to Defra, is below the previous lowest point of 15 days of moderate or higher air pollution days in 2010.

Decline

Defra says that this reduction is a part of a long term decline in days of moderate or higher pollution at urban sites.

But, there were on average more days of moderate or higher pollution at rural pollution monitoring sites in 2013 compared with 2012, reversing a decrease seen during the previous year – with Defra claiming that there is no clear long term trend in this regard.

The Defra statistics summarise the concentrations of major air pollutants as measured by the Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN), and cover annual average concentrations in the UK of particulate matter PM10 and ozone.

Defra’s ‘Air Quality Statistics in the UK, 1987 to 2013’ report can be accessed via the gov.uk website.

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