Winning tender will measure airborne particulate matter concentrations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
The government is procuring a contract worth between Â£500,000 and Â£750,000 to measure UK airborne particulate matter (PM) concentrations and numbers as part of the national air quality monitoring network.
Defra is procuring the three-year contract, which will commence in April 2015, on behalf of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish and central governments.
According to the tender document, the deal will include a handover period of â€œnot less thanâ€ one month with the current contractor, Middlesex-based National Physical Laboratory (NPL), and an option to extend the deal by up to a further two years in 12-month increments.
Defra expects bidders to have an annual turnover for each of the last two financial years of at least Â£1.5 million.
As part of the contract, the winning tender will need to maintain the measurement and monitoring arrangements using â€œinstrumental and analytical procedures to understand the composition of PMâ€ (particulate matter).
The winning bidder will also need to analyse data from the network and information from other available sources to â€œimprove understanding of the characteristics and behaviour of particulate matter in the UKâ€.
In addition, the contractor will be expected to identify and develop new technical and geographical opportunities for measuring fine and ultrafine particles in the UK.
Data collected by the network is collated by Defraâ€™s air quality central management contractors Kings College London and then passed to Defraâ€™s air quality data dissemination contractor, Ricardo-AEA.
Some information on PM2.5 organic carbon and elemental carbon is also provided to the European Commission under reporting requirements in the EU Air Quality Directive (2008/50/EC).
Potential bidders have until a deadline of March 16 2015 to submit their tenders to Defra.