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With the latest developments of the European Air Quality Directives the importance of the National Air Quality Reference Laboratories has grown significantly. Their activity had been acknowledged since a long time and their role has now been formally established: they are legally responsible for the quality assurance of air pollutant measurements in their Member State, which implies the organisation of national QA/QC programmes and the participation to European QA/QC programmes. In addition they may be actively involved in standardisation activities, in the validation of measurement methods and the type approval of instruments.

A constitutive meeting of the Laboratories took place in December 2001 in Ispra and showed a strong agreement on the setting up of a formal network, with the objectives to provide expert judgement, to promote the harmonisation of air quality measurements among EU, EFTA and CCs, to co-ordinate QA/QC activities, method development and validation, to participate in standardisation activities, to develop common research projects and pilot studies and to offer a forum for information exchange in form of training courses, workshops and conferences. The creation of the network was formally agreed by the participating laboratories a year later. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the JRC and most of the participating institutes.

Meetings are partially dedicated to special topics like particles measurement or quality assurance, but do give as well the regular opportunity to update the participants on new technical/scientific and legislative developments in the air quality field.

 
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