Cornwall Air Quality Forum

Using all the available information, air quality in Cornwall has been assessed with reference to benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ozone and a report has been submitted to the DETR.

Few measurements of these pollutants have been made in Cornwall so values were taken from estimates made by the National Environment Technology Centre (NETCEN). But monitoring carried out by the CAQF suggests that in the case of ozone (and maybe other pollutants) the NETCEN estimates for Cornwall are underestimates. Ozone levels in Cornwall are amongst the highest in the UK. (FACT SHEET TWO will discuss ozone in Cornwall).

From the information gathered for that report to the DETR it is anticipated that (on the basis of information currently available) the LAs in Cornwall will not at this stage be required to go beyond a First Stage Review and Assessment.

However, it is also clear that in order to protect existing air quality standards – and the associated quality of health of the population – the integration of air quality considerations into planning decisions, transport strategies and environmental controls is essential. And that in order to help decision makers in their deliberations concerning air quality a sound understanding of the air pollution in Cornwall (based on monitoring and modelling) is required.

By-and-large air quality in Cornwall is generally good. However, there are obvious dangers for a region in which large numbers of slow moving motor vehicles are present in narrow thoroughfares in many villages and towns during the summer months. In addition the implications of high ozone levels for agriculture are also a cause for concern. All Schedule A and B processes in Cornwall have been assessed in terms of air quality but there is very little real information available – especially in relation to health effects on residents.

The CAQF has measured levels of particulate matter – especially in the St Austell china clay area. In general levels measured were within NAQS objectives but significant short-term exceedences did occur. Monitoring of particulate matter in Cornwall is continuing in areas where dust-related problems are thought to exist. (FACT SHEET THREE will discuss particulate matter in Cornwall).

The CAQF is currently gathering information on potential pollution ‘hotspots’ where more detailed monitoring will take place within the limits of the available monitoring equipment.

In the light of the limited hard information on local air quality currently available to the CAQF it is difficult to confirm or refute predictions made by Central Government about air pollution in Cornwall. Hence the CAQF will give a priority to the co-ordination of the purchase and operation of new monitoring equipment.

Additionally it is hoped that the CAQF will purchase a established computer model for predicting the air quality impacts of changes in traffic flows and other related planning matters.


L.F.Salter & B.Parsons, Field Trials of the TEOM® and Partisol for PM10 Monitoring in the St Austell China Clay Area, Cornwall, UK. Atmospheric Environment, 33:2111-2114 (1999).

Leo Salter, Barbara Parsons & Fleur Fisher, “Ozone and PM10 monitoring in Cornwall, UK”, Clean Air and Environmental Protection, 29: 107-110 (1999).

L.F.Salter & B.Parsons, Studying air-quality with data from the Internet. School Science Review. 82: 98 – 102 (2000)


B Parsons and L F. Salter. Report on the monitoring of airborne particulate matter using the OSIRIS real-time particulate monitor in Victoria Square, Truro, 17th November – 7th December 2000. Carrick District Council. (2000).

B.Parsons & L.F.Salter, Report on the NO2 Diffusion Tube Survey. Truro 2000. Carrick District Council, (2000).

B.Parsons & L.F.Salter, Report of the results of roadside air-quality monitoring data at Camelford. North Cornwall District Council, (2000).

B.Parsons & L.F.Salter, Falmouth Monitoring Programme. Cornwall County Council, December, (2000).

B.Parsons & L.F.Salter, Report on Air Quality at County Environmental Services Site. CES, St Day, (2000).

M. George. Tropospheric Ozone Monitoring at Selected Rural Sites in West Cornwall. BSc Research Project, Cornwall College, (2000).

M. Hart. Atmospheric Particulate Matter and Health. BSc Research Project, Cornwall College, (2000).

B.Parsons & L.F. Salter, A30 Monitoring Programme, Cornwall. 2nd July – 10th September 1999. Cornwall Air Quality Forum, (1999).

B.Parsons & L.F.Salter, Report on the results of roadside air-quality monitoring data at Wadebridge. North Cornwall District Council, (1999).

B.Parsons & L.F.Salter Air Quality Report to the DETR, 1996/1997 (first phase testing the NAQS guidance), the Cornwall Air Quality Forum, 3 vols.

Abstracts and Presentations

A. Curnow, B. Parsons, L. Salter, N Morley and D. Gould. Airborne PM10s produced DNA Damage in Cultured Human Lung Fibroblasts. The Aerosol Society. 12th Annual Conference and AGM, (2001).

B. Parsons, L. Salter, Air Quality in Cornwall – traffic effects in a canyon-like street (Falmouth UK) compared to other sites. The Aerosol Society. 12th Annual Conference and AGM, (2001).

B. Parsons, T. P. Jones, T. Coe, S. Mansfield, R. Mathias, and R. J. Richards. Airborne minerals in the vicinity of China Clay ‘mica dams’: St Austell, Cornwall. The Mineral Society.

L. F. Salter & B. Parsons, Air Pollution in the Main Streets of Falmouth. A presentation to Falmouth Town Centre Forum. Council Chambers, Falmouth Town Council, 25th January (2001).

B. Parsons & L.F. Salter, PM10 Monitoring in Cornwall. The Provision and Interpretation of Data for Local Authorities. ETI Group Ltd. 3rd Particulate Group Meeting. Cheltenham, October (2000).

L. F. Salter & B. Parsons, A comparison of TEOM and Partisol monitoring data in Cornwall, UK, European Aerosol Conference 2000, Trinity College, Dublin, 3-8 September (2000). Journal of Aerosol Science 31: (Supplement 1), S17-S18, (2000).

B.Parsons. Update on CAQF air-quality monitoring. A presentation to the Dust Forum. County Hall. November (1998).

B. Parsons & L.F. Salter. Air quality monitoring in the St Austell area. A presentation to the China Clay Parishes Meeting. Fraddon. February (1998).

L.F.Salter & B.Parsons, Air Pollution Monitoring in Cornwall – An update on Cornwall Air Quality Forum Activities 1997-1998. Cornish Coast ’98, Falmouth Arts Centre, Falmouth, UK. 21-22 October (1998).

L.F.Salter, PM10 monitoring – legislation, instrumentation and implications, The Cornish Coast 97, 3rd annual meeting of the Cornwall Coastal Environmental Research Forum, 22-23 October (1997).

L.F.Salter, Cost Benefit Studies of Air Pollution – Effects – why monitoring makes economic common sense, Air Quality in Cornwall, Radnor House, Scorrier, November 21 (1997).

A series of presentations of monitoring data and CAQF aims were made to all Local Authorities during 1997 – 1998.

Parsons, B. Jones, T. P., Coe, T., Mansfield, S., Mathias, R. and Richards, R. J. Airborne minerals in the vicinity of China Clay ‘micadams’: St Austell, Cornwall. A presentation to the Minerological Society, Kingston. April 20th 2001


Five factsheets on Air Quality within Cornwall have been produced and supplied to the five participating Local Authorities for distribution to the general public. All five factsheets have been published on the CAQF website.

Factsheet 1   The CAQF. Progress So Far.
Factsheet 2   Ozone.
Factsheet 3   Particulate Matter, (PM10)
Factsheet 4   Nitrogen dioxide, (NO2)
Factsheet 5   Benzene


Proposed Monitoring of Indoor Air at Truro Police Station, (2001).

Proposed Monitoring of Air Quality at the Biomass Burner at Duchy College Rosewarne, (2001)

Air Quality Monitoring at County Environmental Services, St Day, (2000).

Monitoring Traffic-Related Pollution at Three Sites in Falmouth, (2000).

Diffusion Tube Survey and GIS Mapping of NO2 Levels in Truro City Centre on Behalf of Carrick District Council, (2000).

Trials of the Osiris Particulate Matter Monitor in Truro City center, November/December. Carrick District Council, (2000).

Data Analysis of Air Quality Data Produced by the North Cornwall District Council Roadside Monitoring Site, (2000).

Air Quality Monitoring (Dust) at a Private Residence in Falmouth on Behalf of Carrick District Council and the Environment Agency, (1999).

Falmouth Oil Services. Diffusion Tube Monitoring of Odour, (1998).

Additional Information

A programme of close co-operation with Cardiff University has been achieved. Links with Professor Roy Richards and Dr Tim Jones have resulted in an intensive dust-monitoring programme in the China Clay area of St Austell during the summer of 2000. Barbara Parsons will present the results to a meeting of the Mineral Societies, (2001).

Data produced by the CAQF has been used by DETR spokesmen (Dick Derwent Met Office) in presentations. (2000)

Data produced by the CAQF has been discussed in Air Quality Management.52: 1, (2000)

Data produced by the CAQF has been used by the DETR in their publication Source Apportionment of Airborne Particulate Matter in the UK. Report of the Airborne Particles Expert Group. p4 & 68 – 69, (1999).

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