HC Deb 26 July 1990 vol 177 cc379-80W
Mr. Tony Banks

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many monitoring points for assessing the levels and effects of automobile exhaust pollution exist in the Greater London area; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Trippier

Warren Spring laboratory operates, under contract to my Department, three Greater London sites monitoring the levels of air pollution, the majority of which is caused by road transport.

Mr. Tony Banks

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) on how many occasions in the current year the concentrations of gases produced from the photochemical decomposition of exhaust emissions in London have exceeded safety levels as designated by the EEC and other international standards;

(2) what information he has about the measured concentrations of ground level ozone and benzene in the Greater London area during the current spell of hot weather; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will make a statement about the level of photochemical smog in London during July.

Mr. Trippier

The Government release data from the United Kingdom national ozone monitoring network should any two sites measure an exceedance of a 60ppb (parts per billion) hourly average, which is considerably more stringent than the World Health Organisation guide value for ozone of 76–100 ppb. There are currently no comparable EC guide values. Data from the network covering the London area are given below.

Date Number of hours over 60ppb Maximum levels
5 May 1990 6 88
6 May 1990 6 79
17 June 1990 4 67
15 July 1990 1 64
20 July 1990 3 74
21 July 1990 6 88

Modelling studies suggest that peak kerbside and urban background benzene concentrations are in the order of 60ppb and 6ppb respectively. There are no international guide values for benzene.

By the end of 1992, and to comply with EC legislation, new cars will be fitted with catalytic converters, cutting the emissions of the ozone precursors nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons, including benzene, by more than 80 per cent. Since road transport is the major source of these pollutants in urban areas, these measures will lead to substantial improvements in all aspects of urban air quality.