Written Answers. - Air Quality.

Bernard J. Durkan


130 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the number of locations at which ongoing monitoring of air quality takes place; the findings, if any, of such activity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10338/00]

The monitoring of air quality is a local authority function under the Air Pollution Act, 1987, having regard to the statutory national air quality standards for sulphur dioxide, suspended particulates, nitrogen dioxide and lead set down in the Air Pollution Act, 1987 (Air Quality Standards) Regulations, 1987 (S.I. No. 244 of 1987). The monitoring of ozone is a matter for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) having regard to the thresholds set out in the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992 (Ozone) Regulations, 1997 (S.I. No. 132 of 1997). The siting of the monitors for the foregoing networks is identified in the annual EPA air quality monitoring report and a copy of the most recent report – 1998 – has been placed in the Oireachtas Library. This collates and provides an overview of the main local authority and agency data. More detailed data and analysis may be sourced from the relevant local authorities or the EPA, as appropriate.

In addition, the provision of data from stations operated by the Electricity Supply Board at Turlough Hill, County Wicklow, the Burren, County Clare and the Ridge of Capard, County Laois and by Met Éireann at Valentia Observatory, County Kerry, under the national quality assurance managership of the EPA, constitute Ireland's participation in the UNECE Co-operative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-Range Transmission of Air Pollution in Europe – EMEP Programme – under which a range of air pollutants is monitored.

The monitoring of ambient air quality as a condition of a licence granted under part III of the Air Pollution Act, 1987, or of an integrated pollution control licence under part IV of the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1992, is a matter for the relevant local authorities or the EPA, as appropriate, and the licensee in accordance with the terms of the licence. With regard to the findings of the EPA's 1998 annual report, I refer to the replies to an earlier question today and Question No. 592 of 26 January 2000.