A globe surrounded by virus with unhappy mask face

Video presentation now available: Air pollution in the UK during the COVID-19 lockdown

21 July 2020

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for Yorkshire Local Centre's first Virtual meeting on 14 July 2020.  We had a fantastic attendance and an engaging presentation from Professor James Lee, National Centre for Atmospheric Science and the University of York.

For anyone who was not able to join us, or who may want to watch back, you can now view Professor Lee’s presentation on our YouTube channel here.

The presentation was on ‘Air pollution in the UK during the COVID-19 lockdown: changes and the implication for future air quality strategy.’

The current COVID-19 outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and recognised as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020. Efforts to prevent the virus spreading have included severe travel restrictions and the closure of workplaces, inevitably leading to a significant drop in emissions of air pollutants. This provides a unique opportunity to examine how air pollutant concentrations respond to an abrupt and prolonged change, followed by policy-relatable increases as restrictions are incrementally relaxed.

This talk focused on the effect of the outbreak on air pollution levels (e.g. NOx, PM2.5, VOCs and O3) in the UK and Europe, based on data from a range of in-situ monitoring networks. Professor Lee examined how air pollution in the UK might respond to future changes in transport emissions, for example as we move towards more electric vehicles.