Ricardo is applying its world-leading expertise in greenhouse gas and air quality scenario modelling to help the UK fight climate change and health impacts relating to air pollution.
Ricardo, a global strategic environmental and engineering consulting company, has been selected by the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to develop and maintain the UK’s Air Quality Emissions Scenario Modelling Tool for the next three years. This appointment follows on from the initial construction of the model by a Ricardo-led consortium in 2019.
The UK Government is in the vanguard of national air quality improvement strategies, and scenario modelling is essential to its efforts to weigh up options to actively address health impacts relating to air pollution. The Scenario Modelling Tool is helping the UK Government to continue to demonstrate its international leadership in greenhouse gas monitoring and modelling. At national level, the outputs of the Scenario Modelling Tool are already being used to shape strategies that offer routes to delivering national emissions reduction commitments such as the UK’s Clean Air Strategy, the National Air Pollution Control Plan, National Emission Ceilings targets, Environment Act Air Quality (AQ) targets, and the UK’s net zero strategy, as well as international objectives through the Gothenburg Protocol.
Ricardo’s Scenario Modelling Tool has also been used by the Welsh Government to assess emission reduction policies and develop evidence-based effective target-setting legislation around air pollution. Local authorities around the UK are increasingly using the tool to understand their baseline emissions and test different mitigation options which will guide localised air quality pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, for example through the establishment of Clean Air Zones and the implementation of net zero strategies.
Rachel Yardley, Technical Director – Air Quality for Ricardo said: “We are pleased that Defra is continuing to trust Ricardo’s world-leading expertise and to use the Scenario Modelling Tool. This provides UK Government with an accessible, clear and reproducible way to create, review and test policy measures, and their impact on national and local emissions. Over the next three years we will be working with stakeholders and policy makers across government and industry to ensure that potential future changes in legislation, policy, technology and processes are reflected in UK Government scenario analysis.”
Individuals can also make a difference by making informed choices in their day-to-day lives in relation to travel and domestic heating.
Maintaining the UK’s Air Quality Emissions Scenario Modelling Tool is the latest example of Ricardo supporting the nation to improve urban air quality. In February 2022, Ricardo supported Britain’s first zero emissions zone scheme covering nine streets in the centre of Oxford. Air quality specialists from Ricardo have supported London in the assessment of its Ultra Low Emission Zone ULEZ and have been working with local authorities in Bradford, Southampton and Cardiff to complete Clean Air Zone feasibility studies.