Standard reference methods are essential for the effective measurement and control of air pollution. Such standards are developed at various levels, e.g. at National (e.g. BSI in the UK), European (European Committee for Standardization, CEN) and worldwide (International Standardisation Organisation, ISO) levels.
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. BSI manages the UK input to standards via its technical committees and the UK experts that they nominate to CEN and ISO working groups.
It is mandatory for European member states to adopt CEN standards; if a conflicting national standard exists then this must be withdrawn. ISO standards are adopted nationally on a case by case principle; it is not mandatory for a member country to adopt a standard. Once adopted, in the UK these standards will be available through BSI and will be labelled as BS EN or BSI ISO standards.
It is not mandatory to use or follow a CEN or ISO standard, unless they are referred to in legislation. In the environmental field, however, most CEN standards are developed to address a specific need in EU directives, and therefore in nearly all cases they become mandatory through national legislation.
CEN Technical Committee 264 (TC 264) is responsible for the development of standards for air quality within Europe. These cover stationary source emissions, ambient air quality and indoor air. A full list of active working groups in CEN TC 264 can be found here:
More information on the role and process of standardisation in CEN technical committees and working groups can be found in the following guide:
TC 264 requires that the standards it develops should be validated before publication, through extensive field intercomparisons. Methods that have not had suitable validation are published as CEN Technical Specifications.
Technical Specifications do not have the same status and CEN standards, however, must be reviewed after three years, and they have a maximum lifetime of six years.
In some cases, if they have been widely used in the intervening years, and this has provided suitable validation data, then they can be adopted or converted into CEN standards. In this way they provide a means for new methods, which are not yet mature enough to be standardised, or which do not qualify for funding for the validation studies to become available for industry and regulators to use where appropriate.
Much of the time CEN TC 264 develops methods to meet the requirements of European Directives, and in these cases the work is mandated (and the validation studies funded) by the European Commission, through DG Environment and DG Enterprise. These European Directives including the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) and the Air Quality Framework Directive specify the use of CEN methods, and these methods then become the Standard Reference Methods for carrying out these measurements.
In addition, the Best Available Technology (BAT) reference (BREF) documents produced by the IPPC bureau define measurement methods, place performance requirements on the measurements, and call up CEN and ISO standards.
Information on the BREF documents can be found here:
http://eippcb.jrc.ec.europa.eu/index.html, and on pages 13-17.
The BREF documents, which are being produced for all industry sectors covered by the IED, have been enshrined into law by the IED and therefore have a significant role in defining measurement requirements, and setting limit values, for industrial emissions in Europe.
Within the UK, BSI technical committee EH/2 is responsible for air quality issues. The sub group EH/2/1 is specifically charged with stationary source emission measurement standardisation. BSI EH2/1 nominates experts to the technical committees of CEN/TC 264 (Air Quality) and ISO TC 146 (Air Quality). BSI EH2/1 also oversees a portfolio of existing BSI, CEN and ISO standards to ensure that they are regularly reviewed for technical relevance and continued suitability for purpose. In order that existing and developing standards reflect the full range of UK interests, it is imperative that BSI EH2/1, like other BSI committees, reflects the widest possible range of users.
The Source Testing Association provides a list of active working groups, UK representatives, and a list of current standards published by BSI in the emissions monitoring area, at its web page http://www.s-t-a.org/?page=bsieh.
Standards are generally revised after five years and this process will affect many of the currently published standards soon.
Many Member States, including the UK, form national mirror groups for active CEN and ISO working groups. These collate views from industry practitioners and other stakeholders to provide input, through national representatives and WG delegates, to the committees. In the UK these working groups are held under the auspices of EH2/1 and they meet prior to the working group meetings to ensure our representatives understand the UK point of view.
Experts in the field are welcome to participate and anyone wishing to provide their time to support and influence the standardisation process is encouraged to input into the national mirror groups. To participate contact EH 2/1 through BSI, or through the chairman of EH 2 ([email protected]) or through the EH 2/1 secretariat ([email protected]).
ISO committees operate in much the same way as CEN, and the relevant ISO technical committee is TC 146, and its subcommittee SC1 which deals with stationary source emissions. More information on its work programme can be found here:
A brief overview of the ISO standardisation process can be found in this guide:
In general in Europe where there is no appropriate CEN standard, there is a hierarchy given to available methods, as given in the European IPPC Bureau’s Reference Document on the General Principles of Monitoring:
• Comité European de Normalisation (CEN) • International Standardisation Organisation (ISO) If the substance cannot be monitored using standards covered by the above then a method can be selected from any one of the following: • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) • Association Francaise de Normalisation (AFNOR) • British Standards Institution (BSI) • Deutsches Institute fur Normung (DIN) • United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) • Verein Deustcher Ingenieure (VDI)
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.
Many member states produce implementation guides; for example the Environment Agency has developed a number of Method Implementation Documents (MIDs) which detail the applicability of methods and provide specific national interpretation where there are areas of ambiguity. The methods detailed in Environment Agency Technical Guidance Note (Monitoring) M2 ‘Monitoring of Stack Emissions to Air’ should be used unless it can be demonstrated that they are not fit for purpose for a particular application.
Further guidance and advice
The Source Testing Association provides guidance to its membership and their clients. This includes methodology advice, guidance on equipment selection and training. Visit the STA web site for details www.s-t-a.org or for any technical question contact [email protected] or telephone +44(0) 1462 457535.
Published: 02nd Jul 2013 in AWE International