Biomass Installations and Air Quality Services
Energy generation from biomass is set to play an increasingly important role in helping the UK meet legally binding commitments to reduce carbon emissions. At a local level, the growing impact of biomass combustion on air quality is placing pressure on local authority planning and environmental health departments. As the air-quality impact of biomass installations comes under increased scrutiny, planning applications and their approval need to be underpinned by robust and defensible evidence. Ricardo-AEA helps local authorities to fully assess applications for biomass installations, applying a rigorous combination of biomass technology know-how and air-quality expertise.
Biomass - increasing pressure at a local level
It is widely recognised that a large number of biomass installations will be required to increase the amount of energy produced from renewable sources and help achieve the Government’s carbon reduction targets. Already, increased numbers of biomass installation applications are seeking approval through the planning system.
However, biomass plants produce emissions of fine particles (PM10), and it falls on local authority officers, as the planning authority, to balance the need for more biomass installations with the impact of these emissions on local air quality. This is creating new challenges and adding to already pressured workloads.
In addition, with planning decisions likely to come under increased scrutiny, officers need to be confident that their judgements are robust and can be defended.
Supporting local authorities with proven experience and technical capability
Ricardo-AEA’s knowledge and expertise in biomass technology and air quality provides local authorities with a comprehensive resource to support all aspects of local
We advise over 250 UK and European local authorities on air-pollution issues. Additionally, we manage a range of national air-quality programmes such as the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and the UK National Air Monitoring Network.
These programmes provide unparalleled insights into air-quality challenges and, when combined with our experience of managing the UK’s Bio-energy Capital Grants Scheme (the principal UK Government support measure for bio-energy) ensure a unique perspective and understanding of the issues.
Our experience provides in-depth knowledge of biomass combustion technologies and the UK biomass industry. This is critical in understanding the full spectrum of technical options necessary to ensure the correct balance is struck between potentially conflicting air-quality and carbonreduction drivers.
Many air-quality problems can be avoided or mitigated through appropriate assessment and careful design. We ensure proposed installations offer the best environmental option by identifying the biomass technology that reduces air-quality impacts to an acceptable level.
Our multi-skilled team assesses and validates biomass projects to ensure competing air-quality and carbon-reduction objectives are achieved in a complementary manner.
Our principal services include:
- Design stage advice, focused on emissions prevention.
- Air-quality dispersion modelling assessment of individual and multiple sites using state-of-the-art software to deliver informed decisions on appropriate stack height and abatement technologies.
- Air-quality monitoring.
- Independent technical appraisal of planning applications and supporting documentation.
- Expert witness/public enquiry services.
- Health risk assessment and advice on health issues of concern to the public and decision-makers.