Air pollution controls—framework
Air pollution controls—framework

The following Environment practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Air pollution controls—framework
  • Brexit impact
  • Sources of air and atmospheric pollutants
  • Effects of air and atmospheric pollutants
  • International controls
  • The 1979 Geneva Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution
  • The 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer
  • The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol
  • European controls
  • England and Wales
  • More...

Air pollution controls, addressing global climate change, ozone depletion and air quality are complex, wide ranging and cover a number of activities. Given the far reaching nature of air pollution, many of the controls are found at international, European and national levels. This Practice Note provides high level information on this framework of controls.

Brexit impact

As of exit day (31 January 2020), the UK is no longer an EU Member State. However, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement, the UK has entered an implementation period, during which it continues to be subject to EU law. This has an impact on this content.

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit—impact on environmental law and News Analysis: Brexit Bulletin—key updates, research tips and resources.

Sources of air and atmospheric pollutants

Air pollutants come in many forms and stretch across the range of human activities—from emissions emitted by heavy industry, to activities such as driving a car, lighting a fire and refrigerating food. Some of the main pollutants include:

  1. carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides—major sources include industrial processes, energy plants and transportation

  2. sulphur dioxide—released by burning sulphur containing fossil fuels (eg coal) and produces acid rain, when it combines with water vapour

  3. lead particulates and other heavy metals—arising from combustion processes in motor vehicles, metal processing industries and certain waste incineration, such as batteries

  4. PM10 and

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