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Defra looking for new expert group chair

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is looking for a specialist to chair its Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) and advise officials and key office holders on the science underpinning air quality policy.

The group consists of 14 members from the scientific community and looks at levels, sources and characteristics of air pollutants in the UK.

It contributes to the development of the air quality evidence base, suggests priority areas for future work and also advises on changes in international policy.

While the group does not advise on health impacts, its members will advise on the implementation of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy – the most ambitious air quality strategy in a generation which addresses all the major sources of pollution and has been praised by the World Health Organisation as an ‘example for the rest of the world to follow’.

The current chair, Professor Paul Monks from the University of Leicester, has headed the group for almost nine years and his second term will end on 31 October 2019.

Candidates could come from academia, but also consultancy and industry, and need to show exceptional knowledge and technical expertise of science relevant to air quality. The deadline for applications is Monday 10 June.

Highlights from the group’s recent work include a report on the impact of vegetation on improving air quality. Their findings showed that while vegetation did have a net positive effect on air quality, it was not considered a solution on a city scale. AQEG also recently provided a guidance note on the appropriate use of low-cost pollution sensors.

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