Air Clean Up
Biomass Guidance to Help Scottish Councils Protect Health
Nov 05 2009
Environmental Protection UK, in partnership with LACORS, recently published new Biomass and Air Quality Guidance for local authorities in England and Wales, aimed at providing local authorities with information and tools to help them make decisions on biomass burning to minimise air pollution, protect people’s health and support renewable energy. This guidance has been modified for Scottish local authorities to reflect the Scottish Government’s challenging targets under the Climate Change (Scotland) Act.
Reducing our carbon footprint and our reliance on fossil fuels through the use of renewable energy sources, such as biomass, can be a cost-effective and attractive way to meet energy targets. By using the new guidance, local authorities are now able to take the lead in managing and large expansion in biomass burning to avoid any negative effects on air quality.
Research carried out by DEFRA has concluded that any large unmanaged expansion in biomass heat would have a significant effect on air quality and people’s health. Local authorities are well placed to work with developers and businesses to effectively control biomass burning projects to the benefit of communities.
Poor air quality affects people’s health and particulate pollution alone, such as PM2.5, reduces the average UK live expectancy by around 8 months and can make both heart and lung conditions, e.g. asthma and emphysema, worse. Local authorities have a duty to assess air quality in their area and if they think it might exceed standards declare and Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and work to improve the air quality.
Environmental Protection UK Scotland’s one day event at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall will be attended by Minister for Environment Roseanna Cunningham MSP who will outline how the Scottish Government is working to ensure that air quality and biomass work together to help create a healthier, greener Scotland.
President of Environmental Protection UK Scotland, Alastair Brown, said: “Biomass is going to be key in meeting the Scottish Government’s targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, however we must ensure that air quality is not adversely affected. This guidance will help local authorities make important decisions on biomass heat so that air quality and climate change objectives are balanced”.
The England and Wales Guidance and accompanying tools are available to download from www.environmental-protection.org.uk/biomass.
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