Assessing the United Kingdom Government’s legal compliance through detailed ambient air quality modelling

The European Union (EU) Air Quality Directive stipulates air quality standards for various pollutants in ambient air. Compliance with these Limit Values helps to protect human health and the environment.  For many years, Ricardo Energy & Environment has been at the forefront of assessing the United Kingdom Government’s legal current and future compliance against air quality standards through high quality air quality measurements and detailed ambient air quality modelling.


The modelling of air quality seeks to provide an understanding of the sources of air pollutants, their concentrations in the air and the exposure of populations and ecosystems to them.  Over many years, Ricardo Energy & Environment has risen to the challenge of developing a modelling approach that allows an understanding of the past, present and future pollution climate of the UK and enables us to advise the UK Government on how to meet its obligations under European law. 


Ricardo Energy & Environment’s air quality team is an acknowledged world-class leader in air quality measurement and modelling. We have developed and operate a bespoke GIS-based air quality modelling system (Pollution Climate Model) that models more than 13 pollutants across the UK, including particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, to assess health and statutory compliance risks. We collate detailed and complex information from ambient measurements, emission inventories and model outputs into an accessible integrated evidence base, which is available to stakeholders and the general public.  We carry out an annual assessment of compliance for UK reporting obligations to the EU and provide baseline and future scenario projections to inform air quality planning and support UK policy development. 


Ricardo Energy & Environment’s expertise ensures that the UK is consistently recognised for the high quality of evidence underpinning its air quality compliance reporting. We are constantly improving best practice science in air quality inventory and modelling assessments. As a result of our expertise, we are highly regarded on the international stage and represent the UK Government on a number of technical policy committees and in the air quality negotiating arena.