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Chair’s Column – June

roger_barrowcliffeSince I last communicated with you about IAQM events and the world of air quality, several things have happened of note. In the Spring there was a flurry of news media attention on air quality. Whilst the episodes of high PM concentrations in March were mentioned in passing, the episode of early April became a major ‘story’ and our profession was in the spotlight for a brief period. I contributed an opinion, on behalf of IAQM, to Sky News and some print journalists. Claire Holman, and representatives of other organisations, met with the minister with responsibility for air quality (Dan Rogerson) on 24 March. It was at least encouraging that some form of dialogue took place at ministerial level, although it remains to be seen if anything relating to policy will emerge. Within the last week, IAQM has submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee, which has re-opened its inquiry into air air quality. Our evidence is technically the property of the EAC and so cannot be published by us for the time being, but it will eventually be publicly accessible. Your Chairman and committee provided opinions primarily on the way that national and local government manages air quality. On 20 May, we launched our guidance on odour assessment, drafted by a working group under the guidance of Michael Bull and Jon Pullen. We also had two speakers at the event providing fascinating perspectives on odour that we do not normally encounter. Our next event for members will be a discussion meeting held at the offices of the Highways Agency on Monday 14 July. (Immediately next to Piccadilly railway station in Manchester.) The meeting is scheduled to start at 11.30 and will include contributions from HA staff and contractors on topics that will include: the evolution of DMRB and next steps; the generation of traffic data for modelling; congestion analysis; mitigation options; and the judgement of significance. All of these are aspects of road traffic and air quality that affect many us in our working lives and your presence would be very welcome. Attendance is free for members, but you do need to register in advance. RSVP to Emma Fell to secure your place on the day.
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