Ricardo-AEA awarded major Saudi air quality contract

Ricardo-AEA awarded major Saudi air quality contract
28 April 2013


  • Flagship three year project will help improve air quality in Riyadh, capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Working under contract to ArRiyadh Development Authority, Ricardo-AEA will provide a consolidated evidence base to support future air quality policy
  • Demonstrates a key Ricardo-AEA capability in helping rapidly developing cities and conurbations to address the challenges of maintaining and improving air quality

The city of Riyadh is currently witnessing rapid development of its metropolitan area. Such growth presents major environmental challenges as urbanization gives rise to increased emissions from both transport and industry. This can lead to a general deterioration of city air quality and associated costs in terms of health burdens on the population. 

ArRiyadh Development Authority recognises these challenges and has appointed Ricardo-AEA to provide a consolidated air quality evidence base to support future air quality policy within the city. The work will provide expert analysis and advice underpinned by measurement, inventory and city-scale modelling projects. To ensure that an enduring benefit is provided to the city of Riyadh, beyond the life of the three year contract, a parallel comprehensive programme of knowledge transfer and training will be provided by Ricardo-AEA to the Authority’s air quality team.

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected by ArRiyadh Development Authority for this important and high profile project,” commented Ricardo-AEA’s  Air and Environmental Quality practice director, Dr Geoff Dollard.  “Ricardo-AEA has long-standing experience and expertise in the area of urban air quality and is able to provide this for the benefit of rapidly expanding cities which, like Riyadh, recognize the importance of managing air quality to protect the health and well-being of their citizens.  We look forward to working with ArRiyadh Development Authority over the next three years to deliver a state-of-the-art air quality management system that leaves an enduring legacy for the city.

Managing air quality in an urbanizing world

According to the World Health Organization, 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution. In the UK air pollution is currently estimated to reduce the life expectancy of every person by an average of 7-8 months with estimated equivalent health costs of up to £20 billion each year. In the US health studies suggest that more than 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiopulmonary disease linked to smog. 

Economic growth is driving rapid urbanization in many parts of the world and an associated increase in energy consumption and consequential pollutant emissions. By 2050 it is estimated that 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, bringing significant further challenges for the management of air pollution with all its attendant effects on public health.

Ricardo-AEA’s track record in addressing the issue of air quality can be traced back to the pioneering work undertaken for the UK government in successfully tackling the sulphurous – and, for some, fatal – London smogs of the 1950s. The company now provides its expertise on a worldwide basis, enabling cities such as Riyadh to effectively assess and manage pollutants in order to improve air quality for the benefit of their citizens.


A full copy of this press release is available from the link at the top right of this page.