Environment, Climate an Communications | Air-quality status, monitoring and maintenance
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which high air-quality is being maintained throughout the country; the areas that are most at-risk in this regard; his plans to improve the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the extent to which air-quality monitoring continues in all areas throughout the country; if the same technology is involved over the years; and if he will make a statement on the matter
I propose to take Questions No 178 and 179 together. The national Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Programme is operated, maintained and monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rather than my Department. However, my Department has provided funding for a significant upgrade and expansion of the network in recent years, such that the number of monitoring stations has increased from 29 in 2017 to 103 today. This is the final year of the expansion of the network and 116 will be in operation by December. All stations collect air quality data for a range of pollutants in order to provide information to the public, and for assessment against European legal limit values. Details of the locations of all monitoring stations currently in operation, along with real-time and historic data from each station, can be found at: www.airquality.ie The EPA produce an annual report on Air Quality in Ireland which provides an overview of our air quality and key issues that impact on it. The annual report for 2021 has just been published and can be accessed through the EPA website: www.epa.ie The LIFE EMERALD project, which commenced in 2021, will use the information from our monitoring network to provide a national 3-day air quality forecast and near real-time mapping of air pollutants throughout the country; as well as to create historical maps of air pollutants. The project will improve Ireland’s ambient air quality management capabilities, by using an air quality modelling system to gain a better understanding of the factors contributing to poor air quality and develop a system that will provide better information to the public. In addition, the Clean Air Strategy will be published later this year and will provide the framework necessary to ensure continued improvements in the quality of our air.
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