A report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), recently released, indicates that areas around certain heavily trafficked roads in the Dublin area may have higher levels of the pollutant Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) than previously indicated. The NO2 levels indicated at the entrance and exit to the Port Tunnel by the report are based on modelling rather than monitoring, and I am not aware of any current monitoring at the location. Ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the 2008 Clean Air for Europe (CAFE) Directive (Directive 2008/50/EC) and the Fourth Daughter Directive (Directive 2004/107/EC of 15 December 2004). These Directives also include rules on how Member States should monitor, assess and manage ambient air quality. The numbers and locations of the monitoring equipment for each pollutant are determined by the requirements of the Directives for ambient air monitoring in each zone.
There are a number of monitoring stations across North Dublin in the national monitoring network, including stations at Finglas, Marino and St Anne's Park. Data from these stations is available on the Environmental Protection Agency's website at http://www.epa.ie/air/quality/data/
The EPA report underlines the need to implement the Climate Action Plan. The Plan includes a number of actions which will have a significant impact on reducing harmful emissions and improving air quality. My Department and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport have begun discussions on establishing a working group, bringing relevant organisations together to ensure early action is taken on this matter and to improve the air quality in Dublin. This process will include the two Departments, the four Dublin Local Authorities and the EPA.
This work will complement the work already underway in developing a Clean Air Strategy, which will provide an overarching policy framework within which clean air policies can be formulated and given effect in a manner consistent with national priorities, and EU and other international policy considerations. The Clean Air Strategy will address a range of harmful air pollutants in Ireland, including those arising from the agricultural, transport and residential heating sectors, in an integrated manner. I intend to publish the Strategy in the coming months.