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The main air quality monitoring station for Newcastle city centre is placed outside the Civic Centre, for security and easy access. It's not far from the city centre and the air quality there is comparable with the rest of the town. The monitoring equipment is housed in an air conditioned green metal shed and soon had a hedge of deciduous trees planted around it. As the trees and bushes grow they will filter more and more of the harmful air particles before they reach the delicate sensors of the monitoring station. The council has planted a growing air cleaner around the station and so is allegedly cheating its statutory results. DEFRA, who collate the results, report that the test station is in an open city centre location.
Newcastle city website  gives this information: -


"The monitoring station is within a self-contained, air-conditioned housing located approximately 20 metres from the B1307 and 180 metres away from a major through road of the city, the B1318 Great North Road. The surrounding area is generally open with a private car park and a grassed area in the immediate vicinity of the monitoring station".



Note how the low hedge closes the gap below the tree cover >



These windbreak techniques transferred to local housing stock could make substantial energy bill savings, reduce noise, and promote wildlife. But not in Newcastle. As this urban forest canopy closes around the monitoring station the summer air quality results will seem to improve. By the time anybody notices what's really going on - and has kicked up a fuss - the old lags that dreamt up this caper will have scarpered. 
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Newcastle has been shown to be fiddling its air quality returns but does anybody really care? Perhaps Newcastle are only one of many local authorities providing inappropriate data. Newcastle is not an innovative centre and perhaps it may be assumed that Newcastle has copied this technique of finessing emission data by a shelterbelt from other municipalities, perhaps via a local government conference. Maybe there are further air quality monitoring stations shrouded in vegetation waiting to be discovered. All information gratefully received - to the address below.







This monitoring station should be moved so that it might actually measure local pollution and provide genuine results. Newcastle seems unwilling to even enforce the Clean Air Act and certainly won't be acting in haste. It has no plans to reduce the noxious emissions of motor vehicles in and around the town centre and prefers a voluntary 'business as usual' approach to road transport. There isn't even a Park and Ride scheme. Stringent European regulations will come into force with the aim of reducing air pollution in cities and the U.K. will now evade them. The E.U. hopes to achieve a day round maximum level of 40 microgrammes a litre of PM2.5s. This recent graph of a July day in 2014 shows that this would need a halving of current emissions in Newcastle on Tyne. At present the council hopes to do this by providing false environmental data.
PM2.5 Plot

 


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David Aspinall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 6NQ, U.K.
All rights reserved. Page updated: 28th September 2017