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Chair’s Column – January

roger_barrowcliffe Can I start by wishing all members a happy and successful New Year. The year that the European Commission declared to be the ‘Year of Air’ is now behind us, but there is much to look forward to in 2014 in the world of air quality and the IAQM will play its part. In the past year there were some significant changes introduced or proposed by our Government. We found ourselves reacting to startling proposals on Local Air Quality Management; a story yet to reach its conclusion. This was part of a pattern of proposals by Government stemming from a desire to ‘reduce Red Tape’ or, as cynics suggest, rolling back environmental regulations and the means to enforce them. It seems certain that this trend will continue and the IAQM will continue to argue for the positive role that regulation and good guidance plays in maintaining air quality. We also wrote to Defra with a recommendation that the Air Quality Strategy be updated to reflect current circumstances and to provide a framework for future policies, but I do not expect this to be heeded. What is certain is that air quality professionals must adapt to a working environment in which there are fewer publicly funded resources available at all levels. Against this backdrop, I am especially pleased that IAQM will shortly publish guidance on the assessment of construction dust and also odour. These provide valuable advice for air quality professionals and reinforce our position as the authoritative voice for best practice in air quality. These documents have been produced through the voluntary efforts of individuals in IAQM. Getting to this point requires dedication and hard work and I congratulate those involved. On a longer time scale, we will be working with EPUK to update the guidance on air quality assessment for planning, last published in 2010. An exciting programme of events this year has been sketched out, including a number of discussion meetings that will be free to members. These will typically be held over an afternoon and provide a platform for 4-5 invited speakers to present material on a topic of interest, with at least one of these meetings held outside London. Further details will be announced on our website, as soon as we have confirmed venues and dates. Continuing with the theme of ensuing our activities take place on a national basis, we will be exploring ways in which we can establish a more definitive presence in Wales and Scotland, with the aim of encouraging greater involvement from members in those areas and to better engage with the devolved administrations. The precise structure is under development and will be announced when we have something firmer to propose. In the meantime, if you are a member in Wales or Scotland and would like to contribute to IAQM’s activities, do please get in touch with me through the IES Office. Finally, it is that time of year when our subscriptions are due and also when you may be asked to provide evidence of your CPD, as part of the small sample we select every year. The primary purpose of the IAQM is to enhance our status as professionals and this annual review of individuals’ professional activities is an important mechanism for ensuring and raising standards. If you are selected, therefore, do please take this in the right spirit and assist my colleagues who are undertaking this important process. Renewal notices for subscriptions will be issued shortly and will also contain news of how you may do this online. Our membership continues to grow and I hope that this reflects a belief amongst members that we continue to provide good value for money. – Roger Barrowcliffe
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