Impact type: Public Policy
Significance: The research provided evidence for formulation of
government policies to ameliorate poor air quality, to which fine
particulate matter (PM2.5), O3 and NO2
are the most important contributors; PM2.5 alone reduces
average life expectancy in the UK by 6 months and costs £9bn-£20bn a year.
The research has been incorporated into UK national guidance and
policy-evidence documents for Defra, the Health Protection Agency, and the
Beneficiaries are the public and the environment.
Research; date; attribution: EaStCHEM research (1995-2011) (a)
established reliable techniques to measure NO2 for a national
protocol, and (b) quantified the impact of pollutant emissions on PM2.5
and O3 concentrations, and on hospital admissions and deaths.
Heal (EaStCHEM) led the research and wrote, collaboratively in some cases,
the reports and the work cited.
Reach: UK wide.
Data generated by sensors on-board satellites orbiting the Earth have
become extremely important to businesses and public sector organisations.
They are the essential ingredient in satellite-enabled consumer services,
from GoogleEarth to disaster management, insurance and agriculture. The
Earth Observation Science group at Leicester has played a leading role in
the transfer of cutting-edge Earth Observation techniques and know-how to
the private and public sectors, enabling more businesses to use the
technology for commercial gain. Leicester experience in technology
translation led to its invited contribution to the UK space industry-led
report to government, an Innovation and Growth Strategy for Space.
Evidence from research at UWE Bristol has enabled UK local and national
governments and international governments (South Africa, Nigeria) to
enhance their processes and procedures for managing air quality. UWE
researchers have contributed to the policy and technical guidance issued
by UK Governments, and they have directly advised the UK Government and
devolved national and London administrations on legislation, regulation
and official guidance. The research has contributed to the widespread
recognition of the spatial extent of air quality problems, ensuring
continued support of air quality management at a local level. The research
activity and experience gained has been shared through international
agencies, learned societies and interest groups. This extends to the EU,
China, Brazil, and India, and specifically the Republic of South Africa
through the development of the National Framework for Air Quality
Management and in Nigeria through collaboration with the National Space
Research and Development Agency.
Bristol ChemLabS (part of the School of Chemistry) has used School of
Chemistry research on the atmosphere (air quality, atmospheric chemistry
and the history of greenhouse gases on Earth) to enhance dramatically the
quality and uptake of chemistry education in the UK and approximately 20
other nations. This radical advance has been achieved through ChemLabS'
outreach activity, which has involved running more than 1,200 events for
over 250,000 students over the past six years (and over 1,000 events since
2008). ChemLabS' atmospheric chemistry education packages are now being
delivered in other countries, its textbooks/articles have been taken up
across Europe, and it has trained more than 500 teachers directly. As a
result of its activities, which are grounded in rigorous research, Bristol
ChemLabS has been able to document increased interest in science and
higher uptake at post-16 level.
Climate change is one of the most critical challenges facing modern
society and there is a paramount requirement for government policy
informed by science, and scientifically credible public information.
Observations of sea surface temperatures, and their corroboration, are a
focus for governments — climate change mitigation is economically
important in a warming world. This UoA has provided the science leadership
for a major satellite programme, the ATSRs, specifically designed to
provide high-quality sea temperature data. Results from our research
reduce uncertainties on global temperature change with unexpectedly wide
benefits also to operational oceanography and weather forecasting. Public
visibility through the Science Museum is also high.
Air pollution is a major health concern and government policy driver.
Leeds researchers and colleagues have developed a detailed chemical
mechanism which describes reactions in the lower atmosphere leading to the
formation of ozone and secondary particulate matter, key air pollutants.
The so-called `master chemical mechanism' (MCM) is considered the `gold
standard' and has been used by the UK government and industry groups to
inform their position on EU legislation and by the US EPA to validate and
extend their regulatory models. The Hong Kong Environmental Protection
Department has used the MCM to identify key ozone precursors and provide
evidence for abatement strategies.
In the UK, 20-25% of the population (around 15 million people) sufferer
from allergic rhinitis (hay
fever) resulting in about 4 million `sick days' per year. Research
undertaken by the National Pollen
and Aerobiology Research Unit (NPARU) over a period of 20 years has
resulted in the
development of a national pollen forecasting system for the UK which has
had direct benefits on
the health and wellbeing of hay fever sufferers. This research has also
raised awareness of the
importance of pollen information for sufferers, fed into policy on allergy
services (and subsequently
practice of these services), underpinned training of health professionals,
and informed clinical trials
of anti-allergy products and devices.
Mineral separation by froth flotation is the largest tonnage separation
process in the world, and is
used to recover the very small fraction (<0.5%) of valuable mineral
from the mined ore. Typically,
5-15% of the valuable minerals are not recovered due to sub-optimal
process settings, most
important of which is the air rate. A methodology to determine the optimal
air rate range to use,
Peak Air Recovery (PAR), was developed by the Froth and Foam Research
Group at Imperial
Anglo American Platinum produces 40% of the world's platinum. They use
the PAR methodology
on all their flotation plants to establish to air rate control limits,
tightening the operating range and
improving the separation performance. Rio Tinto annually produce 300 000
tons of copper and 500
000 oz gold from their Kennecott Copper mine. They have implemented PAR as
a control strategy,
and statistical comparative tests have shown an increase in copper and
gold recovery from this
mine alone of the order of 1%, with a nominal value of approximately $30m
Atmospheric science research in the Department of Chemistry, University
of Cambridge has played a leading role in demonstrating the depletion of
the ozone layer following anthropogenic emissions of halogenated compounds
and other Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). This research has been a key
input into the series of assessment reports that have made the case to
policy makers for the strengthening of the Montreal Protocol. The research
underpinning these reports has made a vital contribution to a number of
changes to the Protocol that have ensured a more rapid phase-out of a
wider range of ODS and their replacements, leading to significant global
health and climate benefits during the REF period. Researchers at
Cambridge have helped to raise global awareness of these benefits, helping
to maintain support for the Protocol among policy makers and the public,
and supported European legislation to limit the environmental impact of
ODS and their replacements.
Global waste disposal strategies and chemical regulations have been
transformed through LEC's world-leading research into the environmental
sources, fate and behaviour of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Firstly, our research has directly supported controlled high temperature
incineration as a long-term option for the disposal of municipal waste, by
showing that well regulated incineration is not an environmentally
significant source of dioxin emissions. Secondly, our research has
maintained the controlled utilisation of sewage sludge (biosolids) on
agricultural land as an effective risk-based management solution that
re-cycles valuable carbon and nutrients to soil. Our research has
underpinned the development of the UK's Dioxin Strategy and supported
international chemicals regulation for one of the most important global
flame retardant chemicals in current use under the Stockholm Convention.