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Since the early nineties the legislation governing industry and the monitoring of emissions have matured into a cohesive framework. All potentially polluting activities are legislated under the Environment Protection Act 1990 (EPA) and the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 (PPC). Other European directives on environmental emissions have come into force such as include The Large Combustion Plant Directive (LCP) Solvent Emissions Directive (SED), the Landfill Directive and the Waste Incineration Directive (WID). Installations are regulated according to their assessed environmental risk: from large industrial plants (A1) regulated by the environment agency through to lower risk Part B processes regulated by the local authority. A2 processes are controlled by the local authority and like A1 installations have the potential to pollute to all environmental media. Part B installations cover processes that are least likely to cause hazardous atmospheric emissions only.

All part A1 and many A2 installations require monitoring under MCERTs and must be done by a UKAS accredited company. Part B do not usually require this, but UKAS is preferred by the local authorities as a stamp of quality.

Any one can monitor industrial emissions? Well theoretically yes. However, it remains a specialised area of engineering expertise. Generating good quality measurements from a complex emission in often-difficult situations requires a great deal of skill and experience. As a testing laboratory the principle measure of expertise is to hold UKAS accreditation under BS ISO 17025. This indicates that a sound management and quality structure is in place and that the technical elements and procedures of the emission monitoring are in place. To enhance further the professional status of the monitoring industry and to ensure a uniformity of quality and technique the Environment introduced the MCERT scheme some years ago. Within this scheme UKAS accredited companies had to meet the ongoing requirements of the MCERT company performance standard. The engineers working in the industry have also to meet the personnel competency standard and hold professional qualifications as source testing engineers (Level 1 or Level 2) and up to four technical qualifications (TE1, TE2, TE3 and TE4). Recently, a new European standard (BS EN 15675) for emission monitoring has been published for the application of BS EN 17025 to emission monitoring projects – EMCo has been accorded accreditation under this standard.

Key agency documents for the monitoring are the so called M1 and M2 which deal with the practicalities and safety aspects of monitoring and the choices of monitoring method respectively