Agenda item


            The Chairperson welcomed to the meeting Mr. A. Thorpe, representing AECOM, to the meeting.


            Mr. Thorpe commenced by thanking the Committee for the opportunity to present on the findings of the draft AECOM report on the detailed assessment project which had been ongoing now for over 2 years.


            The representative, with the aid of PowerPoint, presented the Members with a detailed update presentation on key findings of the draft report and draft atmospheric dispersion modelling.  He advised that the draft findings had been compiled using the following 4 principal project components:


1.     Additional ambient monitoring for nitrogen dioxide  (NO2), particulate matter (PM10) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5);

2.     Development of an emissions inventory for the Belfast City Council area;

3.     Detailed atmospheric dispersion modelling to map concentrations of NO2, PM10 and PM2.5 spatially for the Belfast City Council area for a 2019 base year and a forward projection year of 2028; and 

4.     Analysis and reporting of the atmospheric dispersion modelling data for the city to identify geographic areas of exceedance of national and European health-based ambient air quality standards and of WHO air quality guideline values.


            Mr. Thorpe reiterated that, at this stage, the findings were still in draft form as the final detailed assessment atmospheric dispersion modelling report and the accompanying detailed assessment summary report would contain a series of project conclusions and, where necessary, recommendations for further ambient air improvements across the city.


            During discussion, the AECOM representative undertook to include a graphic for WHO standards within the final report. He also addressed queries in relation to the measuring of PM2.5 and whether there were specific times of the year when spikes in air pollution were more evident. The representative agreed to investigate this further and to report back.


            The Environmental Protection Manager advised the Members that a specific report on monitoring would be provided as a component of the detailed assessment project.  


            Discussion also ensued regarding the rationale used to determine the location of the additional monitoring stations, the high levels of pollution around the A12 Westlink and the declining levels in pollution during the Covid-19 pandemic.


            The Environmental Protection Manager advised that the Council had now taken over operation of the monitoring stations that had been used for the assessment project and, therefore, in due course, the Council could consider their relocation to different areas of the city to capture alternative data.


            The Director of City Services advised that, in advance of the final report being submitted to the People and Communities Committee and given the complexity of the work associated with the draft detailed assessment atmospheric dispersion model, officers would be happy to discuss this directly with a Member or to arrange a Party Briefing should they feel that it would be beneficial to contact her if this was required.  


            The Chairperson thanked Mr. Thorpe for his comprehensive presentation, and he left the meeting.


            The Committee noted the update presentation from AECOM in respect of the key findings of the draft report and draft atmospheric dispersion modelling.