Written Answers. - Air Quality.

Bernard J. Durkan

Ceist:

122 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the indications, if any, pointing to higher than average levels of air pollution in any area of County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10329/00]

The recently published air quality monitoring annual report, 1998 from the Environmental Protection Agency – a copy of which is available in the Oireachtas Library – indicates that the highest levels of sulphur dioxide – SO2 – measured over the period April 1998 to March 1999 were recorded at the Leixlip monitoring station. Readings of SO2 at the Leixlip monitoring station are the maximum for all stations in the country for all parameters – between three and five times higher than the average and between two and three times higher than the levels recorded in Leixlip in 1997-98, depending on the measurement parameter.

In the case of levels of smoke, the readings for Leixlip were within the range of readings for other stations, but above average for all parameters for 1998-99, by between 16% and 26%.

The Leixlip readings, and those at all other monitored areas in the county, remain in compliance with the mandatory national and EU air quality standards for smoke and SO2. Air quality monitoring in County Kildare is a function of Kildare County Council under the Air Pollution Act (No. 6 of 1987) and it is a matter for the council to identify the reason for the abnormal readings for SO2 for 1998. Ongoing investigations of the Leixlip readings for SO2 by the council, including investigation of the possibility of a faulty monitor and a survey of local fuel use, have not, to date, identified the reason for the anomalous levels recorded.