back to listings SME Profile: Air Quality Consultants Ltd

Air Quality Consultants Ltd

Head Office
23, Coldharbour Road, Bristol BS6 7JT
Tel: 0117 974 1086
Email: bristol@aqconsultants.co.uk

London Office
12, Airedale Road, London SW12 8SF
Tel: 020 8673 4313
Email: london@aqconsultants.co.uk

Web: www.aqconsultants.co.uk

Companies House Registration: 2814570.

Registered address: 12 St Oswalds Road, Bristol BS6 7HT

Welcome to Air Quality Consultants

EXPERTS IN AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT & ASSESSMENT

  • Air Quality Consultants Ltd provides independent expert advice and assessments covering all ambient air quality issues. Established in 1993, it has a strong and proven track record in providing air quality services to private and public sector clients, both within the UK and internationally. 
  • The Company has been closely involved in the development of air quality management in both the UK and Europe for over 20 years.  It has also advised Government departments in South Africa and Australia.
  • Air quality, odour and dust assessments are completed for several hundred projects each year.  They cover a wide range of developments, from small residential schemes in Air Quality Management Areas, to major mixed-use schemes, as well as schemes for new roads, industrial installations and airports.  BREEAM assessments are being provided for new developments.

More about us 

SERVICES FOR LOCAL AUTHORITIES 

Air Quality Consultants provides a wide range of services tailored to the needs of local authorities in the UK.

These include Local Air Quality Management and support with planning applications and guidance.

Local Air Quality Management

  • AQC is a leading consultancy in the UK dealing with Local Air Quality Management (LAQM). The Company has provided a comprehensive LAQM service to over 30 local authorities throughout the UK over the past 10 years. AQC is particularly well placed to understand the LAQM requirements of local government, having been involved in developing Technical Guidance on behalf of Defra and the Devolved Administrations, and also being responsible for operation of the Review and Assessment Helpdesk.
  • AQC provides a complete service in relation to Review and Assessment. This includes preparation of Updating and Screening Assessments, Detailed Assessments, Further Assessments and Progress Reports. In addition, AQC assists with advice on monitoring and the Action Planning process. Professional expertise is supported by in-house modelling capabilities using ADMS-Roads and ADMS5.
  • AQC also provides a complete service in relation to Air Quality Action Plans and Strategies. This includes preparation of complete Air Quality Action Plans and Strategies, providing assistance with consultation, running workshops and providing advice on all aspects of Action Plans and Strategies. An important aspect of work on action plans is the coordination of meetings between the relevant parties, including joint facilitation of working between transport planners, land use planners, the regulatory authorities and other air quality professionals. AQC's general approach is therefore to recommend the establishment of local working groups (formal or informal) to derive the most appropriate measures. Professional policy expertise is supported by in-house modelling capabilities using ADMS-Roads and ADMS5, which may be used to quantify the impacts of specific options.

Planning Support

  • AQC helps local authorities by appraising the air quality sections of planning applications and assisting the development of planning guidance.
  • Where appropriate, AQC supports local authorities by providing expert witness evidence at Public Inquiries

SERVICES FOR PLANNERS & DEVELOPERS

Air Quality Consultants provides a comprehensive service relating to modelling, monitoring and assessment of air quality, covering a range of air pollutants that affect health and ecosystems, as well as dusts and odours that affect amenity.  Studies range in size from those that contribute to formal Environmental Impact Assessments for major infrastructure schemes, to stand-alone assessments for small local developments.

Further details of the types of work undertaken are provided in the links below.

COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL

  • Many hundreds of commercial and residential schemes have been assessed.  In the absence of official guidance, Air Quality Consultants has played a leading role in the development of guidance prepared by Environmental Protection UK and the Institute of Air Quality Management.  This has included guidance on ‘Development control: Planning for Air Quality’ which is widely followed across the UK, and guidance on assessing the significance of air quality impacts.  The Company also helped develop the Mayor of London’s Supplementary Planning Guidance on ‘Air Quality Neutral’, which applies to all major developments in London.
  • The assessments are typically focused on emissions from road traffic, including the potential  impacts at existing properties associated with traffic generated by the scheme, and the impacts on users of the development itself.  Where appropriate, the impacts of emissions from boilers and CHP plant are considered, as are the impacts from other existing sources that may generate pollution, dust or odours.  Construction dust impacts are assessed when required.  When necessary, expert evidence is provided for planning appeals.
  • The assessments are typically focused on emissions from road traffic, including the potential  impacts at existing properties associated with traffic generated by the scheme, and the impacts on users of the development itself.  Where appropriate, the impacts of emissions from boilers and CHP plant are considered, as are the impacts from other existing sources that may generate pollution, dust or odours.  Construction dust impacts are assessed when required.  When necessary, expert evidence is provided for planning appeals.

Many hundreds of projects have been carried out across the UK covering:

  • small residential developments on busy streets
  • large residential-led and other mixed-use developments
  • schools and nurseries
  • hospitals
  • hotels
  • supermarkets and other retail developments

INDUSTRIAL & WASTE

  • The impacts of emissions from a wide range of industrial processes and waste management operations have been assessed.  The assessments cover a wide range of pollutants and consider the effects on human health and on ecosystems.  Detailed dispersion models are normally employed, with ADMS or AERMOD used as appropriate.  Projects have covered assessments for planning applications and preparation of permit applications for submission to the regulatory authority.  Monitoring of ambient air around facilities has been carried out when required, with the data analysed using Openair software.  Consideration is given to dusts and odours when necessary.

Projects have included:

  • power generation facilities
  • incinerators
  • energy-from-waste plant
  • pyrolysis plant
  • asphalt plant
  • anaerobic digesters
  • composting and waste treatment facilities
  • oil exploration

ROADS & RAILWAYS

  • Air Quality Consultants has assessed the impacts of numerous road schemes, ranging from small links, to major roads of over 40 km length.  Rail schemes have included rail-freight interchanges, new rail links and mainline upgrades.  The impacts assessed cover effects on human health and on ecosystems and are quantified using detailed dispersion modelling, verified against local monitoring.  Consideration is given to emissions of carbon dioxide in relation to climate change impacts, when required.  The work has been carried out for local authority highways departments and for the Highways Agency.  Expert evidence has been provided  at numerous Public Inquiries

Projects have included:

  • he M8 and M80 motorways in Scotland
  • the Thames Gateway Bridge in London
  • the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route
  • the upgrade to the West Coast Mainline
  • the Rossington Inland Port rail-freight interchange
  • sections of the M25 motorway
  • the Weymouth Relief Road
  • a link road in Humberside
  • the A180 in Northeast Linconshire
  • a road scheme in Gibraltar
  • a road scheme in Quatar
  • the Postwick junction in Norwich

AIRPORTS & PORTS

  • Air Quality Consultants has extensive experience of undertaking assessments related to airport operations.  The Company has worked on most of the major UK airports.  Its Directors were invited members of the DfT’s expert panels on modelling and monitoring for the Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow.  Recent assessments have used the ADMS Airports model, with emission inventories developed specifically for the airport.  The assessments have covered impacts on human health and on ecosystems.
  • Monitoring data have been obtained and evaluated for a number of airports, and expert witness evidence has been prepared for a number of Public Inquiries.
  • The Company has also assessed ports.  This has covered modelling emissions from shipping movements, as well as road and rail access to the port.  Concentrations of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter have been monitored and assessed at ports using Openair software.

Airports worked on by Air Quality Consultants include:

  • Heathrow
  • Gatwick
  • London City
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Liverpool John Lennon
  • Robin Hood, Doncaster Sheffield
  • Cardiff
  • Gibraltar

Ports worked on by Air Quality Consultants include:

  • the Port of Southampton
  • Durban Port in South Africa

ODOURS

  • Odours are challenging to assess, due to difficulties in measuring them and their inherently subjective nature.  Air Quality Consultants has experience over many years in this field, and has recently contributed to the preparation of guidance on the assessment of odour for planning.
  • The methods used include a desk based odour risk assessment, sniff tests and dispersion modelling.  The dispersion modelling is supported by monitoring of odour emissions when appropriate.

Projects have covered:

  • sewage treatment works
  • composting facilities
  • poultry sheds
  • anaerobic digestion plant
  • slurry handling on farms
  • abattoirs
  • catering outlets
  • various industrial operations
  • contributions to planning appeals

DUST

  • Air Quality Consultants has been assessing the impacts of dust emissions for over 20 years.  The Company’s Directors contributed to the development of the glass slide method of measuring dust soiling in the 1980s - a method widely used for assessing dust soiling around construction sites.  The Company has contributed to the preparation of ‘guidance on the assessment of dust from demolition and construction’, and ‘guidance on air quality monitoring in the vicinity of demolition and construction sites’.

Projects have covered dust from construction sites, waste management facilities and mineral workings.  The activities have involved:

  • dust assessments
  • preparation of dust management plans for construction works and for waste management facilities
  • monitoring dust around demolition and construction activities using passive samplers and real-time monitors with alert systems
  • contributions to planning appeals

BREEAM

  • A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use.  The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology.  Indoor Air Quality was included within the Health and Wellbeing section of the BREEAM 2011 scheme document for the first time and continues to be included in the 2014 version.  
  • Since the addition of Indoor Air to BREEAM, AQC has completed BREEAM Indoor Air Quality Plans for a number of commercial developments across the UK including offices, academic institutions (including laboratories) and a veterinary centre.  In addition, the company has undertaken a number of indoor air quality studies in a variety of locations, including hydrogen sulphide in a commercial premises, carbon monoxide on board a ferry, NOx and particulate matter within a marquee at Goodwood Festival of Speed, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in a children’s nursery and VOCs, dust, particulate matter, fungi, and bacteria within a museum.

POLICY & GUIDANCE SERVICES 

AQC provides input to both local and central governments, and to the European Commission with respect to the development of air quality policy and guidance.

Examples include:

  • Development of Technical Guidance for Review and Assessment, carried out on behalf of Defra and the devolved administrations.
  • Development of the Mayor of London's Air Quality Neutral guidance.
  • Review of options to tackle PM10 and NO2 hotspots in London, carried out on behalf of Transport for London.
  • Input to the development of the DMRB Screening Model carried out on behalf of the Highways Agency.
  • Provision of air quality advice to Transport Scotland for the trunk road network.
  • Development of air quality guidelines for National Road Schemes, carried out on behalf of the National Roads Authority in Ireland.
  • Development of Indoor Air Quality Guidelines, carried out on behalf of the National Department of Health in South Africa.
  • Development of Evaluation Criteria for Air Quality Management Plans in South Africa, carried out on behalf of the Department for Environment, Agriculture and Transport.
  • Study of options for the implementation of an exposure-reduction approach for Particulate Matter, carried out on behalf of Defra.

AQC staff have also been members of a number of expert panels and working groups assembled to advise both the UK Government and the European Commission.

These have included:

  • Defra's Air Quality Modelling Steering Group
  • UK Government’s Quality of Urban Air Review Group
  • DH's Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants
  • DfT’s Monitoring and Modelling Panels supporting work on Model Development for Heathrow Airport
  • UK Government’s Photochemical Oxidants Review Group
  • UK Government’s Air Quality Expert Group
  • UK Government’s Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants
  • EC Working Group on Airborne Particles
  • EC Working Group on Ozone
  • EC Working Group on Guidance
  • EC Working Group on Implementation
  • EC Clean Air for Europe Steering Group
  • CEN Working Group on PM10 and PM2.5

EXPERT WITNESS SERVICES 

  • Air Quality Consultants Ltd staff have over 40 years experience of presenting expert evidence at Public Inquiries. Expert evidence has been provided on air quality issues on behalf of both developers and objectors.
  • AQC provides expert witness services, either in isolation or as part of a larger assessment. Expert witness services have been provided in relation to ambient air quality, dust and odour impacts of industrial sources, road schemes, airports, commercial and residential developments.

Examples of projects in which expert evidence has been provided include:

  • The Norwich Northern Distributor Route and Postwick junction, on behalf of Norfolk County Council.
  • Sand and gravel quarry extension. Addressed dust impacts on an observatory, on behalf of the University of Hertfordshire.
  • Residential development in SW England, on behalf of the developer.  Focus was on the impacts of odours from agricultural slurry.
  • Thames Gateway Bridge in east London, on behalf of Transport for London.
  • Interim Passenger Facility at Coventry Airport, on behalf of the Airport.
  • Stansted Airport expansion to 35 mppa, on behalf of the local authority opposing the expansion.
  • Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield, on behalf of Peel Airports.
  • Heathrow Terminal 5, on behalf of the local authorities opposing the development.
  • Mixed-use development at Peruvian Wharf in east London, on behalf of the Greater London Authority opposing the development. Focus was on odour impacts associated with the adjoining industrial operations.
  • Upgrading of West Coast Mainline railway, on behalf of Railtrack. Evidence presented to four separate Public Inquiries.
  • Thameslink 2000 development, on behalf of Guys & St Thomas’s Hospital and the Kings College Campus who were opposing the development. Focus was on issues related to dust emissions from construction, and the potential impacts of Aspergillus.
  • Dibden port development at Southampton Docks, on behalf of Associated British Ports.
  • Long Moor opencast coal development in Leicestershire, on behalf of the Mineral Planning Authority who were opposing the development.

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