Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ceisteanna (1038)

Catherine Martin


1038. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment his plans and timelines for making air quality data available to the public in an accessible manner as is the case with a network (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the EPA’s air quality data is difficult to navigate and has significant gaps in data availability between the ending of the historical data measuring periods and the 14 day recent timeline periods; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13722/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Communications)

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. Under the Directives, EU Member States must designate "zones" for the purpose of managing air quality. For Ireland, four zones were defined in the Air Quality Standards Regulations, 2011. The zones in place in Ireland in 2019 are Zone A: the Dublin conurbation; Zone B: the Cork conurbation; Zone C: comprising 23 large towns in Ireland with a population of more than 15,000; and Zone D: the remaining area of Ireland. Ireland established a nationwide network of monitoring stations which measure levels of air pollutants in the four zones. 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.

Information from these stations is provided in map format in near real-time at www.airquality.ie The most recent real-time data from automated stations is also currently provided by the EPA at http://www.epa.ie/air/quality/data/ in the form of continuously updated graphs. Historical data sets are available for download, also through the EPA website.

Following a review by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of air quality monitoring and information provision in Ireland, a decision was taken to develop a new National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme (AAMP) which aims to enhance and build on current arrangements. One of the key objectives of the programme is to enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public. The AAMP will more than double the capacity of ambient air quality monitoring in Ireland over the period 2017 to 2022, and enhance the provision of real time air quality data to the public. My Department has committed funding of some €5 million over the lifetime of the programme. As part of this on-going enhancement of the provision of real time air quality data to the public, the EPA will also shortly be launching a new map based dashboard to provide more accessible information to the public, to be followed by a station based Air Quality Index for Health.