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Robust economic growth, while lifting millions of people out of poverty, is driving rapid global urbanisation and associated increases in energy consumption and transportation. This, and related population growth, are major causes of air pollution in urban areas, especially in megacities, where it is estimated that by 2050, 70% of the world's population will live.
The challenge is pressing – the World Health Organisation estimates that 2.4 million people die annually from causes directly attributable to air pollution and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that, by 2050, urban air pollution will be the leading environmental cause of mortality worldwide, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation.
However, population growth and urbanisation can be achieved without degrading the air we breathe. By managing air quality effectively, the costs associated with increased health burdens, reduced crop yields and damage to the built environment can be avoided.
Ricardo Energy & Environment has the largest air quality team in Europe. Our strategic AQManage framework is helping governments worldwide to address the challenge of air pollution. Our experts have been at the forefront of air quality management for over six decades – protecting the air we breathe and ensuring our clients achieve their air quality goals.
AQManage is Ricardo Energy & Environment’s strategic air quality management framework. It provides comprehensive and authoritative solutions to the significant challenge that air pollution presents. We use state-of-the-art tools and techniques, many of which are at the leading edge of air quality science and have been developed in some of the toughest regulatory regimes in the world.
The framework incorporates three critical components in what is a modular air quality management solution.
1. AQAssess covers everything related to the development of the robust air quality evidence base upon which policy should be developed. The evidence base is built from tailored combinations of:
• Measurements of pollutant emissions and ambient concentrations.
• Emission inventories at local, regional and national scale.
• Data collection, management, dissemination and reporting using MODUS – Ricardo Energy & Environment’s proprietary data management software.
• Modelling of air quality concentrations across a range of spatial scales, source identification, future scenario development and the assessment of mitigation options.
• Health impact assessment.
• Economic assessment.
2. AQAction focuses on the development of strategies, measures and policies for the improvement of air quality. All strategy and policy should be underpinned by robust evidence and designed to ensure cost-efficient, effective action that fully delivers air quality goals.
3. AQTrack represents the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) systems that allow intelligent tracking of the impact of strategy and policy actions – ensuring the effectiveness of mitigation measures are quantified with feedback allowing policy updates as necessary.
Examples of our work in this field include:
Riyadh air quality management - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
In response to the environmental challenges presented by rapid urbanisation, Ricardo Energy & Environment is working for ArRiyadh Development Authority to provide a consolidated air quality evidence base to support the development of future air quality policy for the city. The work will provide expert analysis and advice underpinned by measurement, inventory and cityscale modelling projects. To support air quality management in the future, we will also be providing knowledge transfer and training to the Authority’s air quality team.