The Air Quality Monitoring Associations (AASQA) are the main actors of the national air quality monitoring system in France. They are true experts in their field, specialising in the study, monitoring and anticipation of air quality issues.
Establishment of AASQAs on French territory
Established throughout the country and divided by administrative region or DOM-TOM, each AASQA has its own website, in order to provide information closer to the targeted territory. These associations are also grouped within the federation Atmo France which provides them with national representation and the opportunity to share their expertise.
The main missions of the AASQAs
Created in the 1970s, the Air Quality Monitoring Associations were originally intended to collect and study data on air quality. Their missions subsequently evolved after the implementation of the framework law on air pollution. Enacted on 30 December 1996, the law on Air and the Rational Use of Energy (LAURE law) allowed the AASQA network to see their fields of action and expertise broaden around the following objectives
- Air quality monitoring This mission is carried out by measuring air quality on the regional and national territory, as well as by modelling maps and maintaining databases on various pollutants (ozone, fine particles, etc.).
- Information and awareness raising for the population This is a standardised requirement in the Environmental Code, and is an obligation towarn the population about air quality and to alert it if a certain pollution threshold is exceeded.
- Support for decision-makers The role of the AASQA is to evaluate air pollution control measures (carried out or planned), as well as measures related to decarbonisation. The objective is to reduce the population's exposure to ambient air pollution, improve the ecosystem and contribute to better health for the population.
- Improving knowledge This is a research mission that takes the form of innovative experiments on French territory.
For more than 20 years, regulations related to air quality have been constantly evolving in France. Recently, the Order of 16 April 2021 on the national air quality monitoring system (article 3) has specified the functions of the AASQAs, the aim being to transpose Directive 2008/50/EC of 21 May 2008 and article 9 of Directive (EU) 2016/2284 into French law.
Reliable and transparent associations
The AASQAs are state-accredited organisations whose expertise and missions enable them to produce reliable and reference information for each region in France.
As key players in the field of air quality, they are also obliged under French law to disseminate the information they collect free of charge and freely throughout the country:
The data presented are produced by the Associations agréées de surveillance de la qualité de l'air (AASQA) and licensed by ODbL.
The AASQA shall make freely available on its website at least the following information:
1° The results :
- monitoring for the regulated pollutants listed in Annex 1;
- of its forecasts [...]
2° The value of air quality indices calculated every day [...] ;
3° Annual descriptive maps of exceedance situations for the following pollutants: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, PM2.5 and PM10 [...] ;
4° Each year, a regional report on the results of air quality monitoring;
5° The regional spatialized inventory of air pollutant emissions.
The importance of the ATMO France federation
The AASQAs are grouped together in a federation called ATMO France to represent them throughout France. The interest of this network is to share means and information in order to provide France with an efficient air quality monitoring system.
The ATMO France federation and the AASQAs are real players in the field of air quality and are part of the national air quality monitoring system, in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment and the Central Air Quality Monitoring Laboratory (LCSQA), which includes the National Institute for the Industrial Environment and Risks (INERIS), the National Laboratory for Metrology and Testing (LNE) and the Lille Douai ITM.
By coming together in the ATMO federation, the AASQAs have thus extended their scope of action with regard to improving air quality from the local/regional level to the national level.