Air Monitoring

Standards and Methods for Environmental monitoring in the UK

Dec 03 2020

Author: Andy Curtis, STA Administrator on behalf of Source Testing Association

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Each year in the Annual Guide, we highlight what has taken place in the world of standards development. Standard reference methods are essential for the effective measurement and control of air pollution.  Such standards are developed at National, European and worldwide level.  The robustness and fitness for purpose of these standards is a function of the accumulated expertise and experience of the people who work together in committee to produce them. Where internationally-derived standards are binding on the UK, as European (CEN) standards are, it is particularly important that they should recognise UK interests and sensitivities.  BSI manages the UK input to new standards via its technical committees and the UK experts that they nominate to CEN and ISO working groups.
Standards are developed in Europe by Comité European de Normalisation (CEN) and internationally by International Standardisation Organisation (ISO)
European Standards (ENs) are based on a consensus, which reflects the economic and social interests of 33 CEN Member countries channelled through their National Standardization Organizations. Most standards are initiated by industry. Other standardisation projects can come from consumers, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) or associations, or even European legislators.


ISO International Standards ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. For business, they are strategic tools that reduce costs by minimising waste and errors and increasing productivity. They help companies to access new markets, level the playing field for developing countries and facilitate free and fair global trade.


Selection of standards for emission monitoring
With the increasing requirement for the installation of continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS), it is important that capital investment is protected, and that instrumentation gives reliable, meaningful and repeatable data. Fitting EN15267 approved equipment is one element, but it is extremely important that the system is verified. The verification process requires the use of standard reference methods to underpin the data.
Standard reference methods are essential for the effective measurement and control of air pollution.  Such standards are developed at National, European and worldwide level.  The robustness and fitness for purpose of these standards is a function of the accumulated expertise and experience of the people who work together in committee to produce them.


ISO standards are accepted on a case by case principle; it is not mandatory for a member country in the European Union (EU) to adopt a standard.
Member states of the EU must implement CEN standards. If a conflicting standard is in existence, then this must be withdrawn.
 

Understanding how standards numbers work
Figure 1 shows how standards are adopted in the UK and published by the British Standards Institute (BSI).
1. Should a standard be developed, for example in the UK by BSI it will be prefixed by BS, e.g. BS 3841-1:1994 Determination of smoke emission from manufactured solid fuels for domestic use.
2. When a standard is developed and published by CEN, it is prefixed with EN, and when introduced in the UK it will become a BS EN document, e.g. BS EN 1911:2010 Stationary source emissions – Determination of mass concentration of gaseous chlorides expressed as HCl and as stated above any conflicting standard must be removed. CEN or ISO can develop a standard under a joint agreement, and then CEN and ISO publish it with a prefix EN ISO, and in the UK it then becomes a BS EN ISO prefix, e.g. BS EN ISO 23210:2009 Stationary source emissions – Determination of PM10/PM2.5 mass concentration in the flue gas.  A national foreword is added to the standard to indicate its scope of applicability and to highlight any UK specific concerns.
3. When ISO develops a standard it is prefixed ISO and should this be adopted in the UK it becomes BS ISO, e.g. BS ISO 25597:2015 Stationary source emissions – Test method for determining PM10/PM2.5 mass in stack gases using cyclone samplers and sample dilution.
Standards developed and published by CEN are generally accepted as being the most robust. However, other standards are still important, as there are substances that are not, as yet, covered by CEN Standards. The choice of the method is often dictated by the requirements of EU Directives, i.e. Industrial Emission Directive (IED), where, for example, the use of CEN standards is mandatory.
If mandatory requirements do not dictate the standard, then monitoring standards should be used in the following order of priority as given in the European IPPC Bureau’s Reference Document (http://eippcb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/) on the General Principles of Monitoring:
1. EN standards
2. ISO standards, other international standards, national standards
3. Validated laboratory-developed and non-standard methods

The intended application of the standard method must always be taken into account; for example, a CEN method may be less suitable than another less-rigorously validated standard method if the application is not one for which the CEN method was developed.

The standards bodies have various technical committees that are responsible for the development of the standards. For emission, to air, the CEN committee is CEN TC 264 and for ISO is ISO TC 146 SC1.

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