The Mcerts events were originally created to provide a forum for the exchange of information relating to the Environment Agency's monitoring certification scheme.
However, the Mcerts events have grown into red-letter diary dates for anyone involved with air quality, including process operators (Part A and B), regulators, local authorities, instrument manufacturers, test houses, contractors, consultants, researchers and academics.
European Standards are continuously developed to provide methods for monitoring pollutants referred to in various Directives and as a result it is necessary for those involved with air quality to keep abreast of developments.
A series of European Standards covering aspects of certification of equipment and personnel is currently under development; it will give confidence to European Regulators on the quality of data being presented.
The UK has been committed to improving the quality of emission data and UK industry, the Source Testing Association (STA) and the Environment Agency have worked closely in this area through the introduction of the Agency's monitoring certification scheme, Mcerts.
It is important that instrumentation provides reliable, meaningful and repeatable data, particularly in light of an increasing requirement for the installation of continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS).
Fitting Mcerts-approved equipment is one element but it is extremely important that the system is verified and this 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 world-wide 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.
Those internationally derived standards that are binding on the UK, as European (CEN) standards are, should recognise UK interests and sensitivities and 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.
ISO standards are accepted on a case by case basis, although there is representation on the majority of working groups it is not mandatory for a member country to adopt an ISO standard.
However, CEN standards are mandatory and must be adopted by a member state of the European Union.
Conflicting standards already in existence must be withdrawn.
Standards that relate to air emissions monitoring will be a common theme in many of presentations at Mcerts 2007.
The Mcerts 2007 Conference will be repeated on both days and will have three main themes: multicomponent monitors, portable instruments, and the calibration of particulate monitors.
In addition, there will be almost 50 workshops on each day (25 and 26 April) on topics as diverse as EN14181 and diffuse air samplers.
A limited number of tickets are available for a gala dinner that will include the serious business of Mcerts certificate presentation and the less serious business of listening to TV comic Frankie Boyle.
The conference will begin with a presentation by Rod Robinson of the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) entitled 'FTIR yesterday, today and tomorrow', providing an overview of the techniques and monitoring methods, in addition to a number of common pitfalls and their solutions.
FTIR is a powerful technique for measuring a range of emission gases, and is being used more often in stack monitoring.
This talk will give a summary of recent work on the use of FTIR in emissions monitoring, and describe current initiatives to develop best practice.
Marc Coleman, also from NPL, will then give a presentation on another multicomponent monitoring technology - on-line mass spectrometry.
Mass spectrometry instruments are capable of monitoring, in principle, all emissions and process gases across a wide dynamic range.
However, the uptake of the technique is limited due to issues of instrumental drift that can invalidate calibrations over relatively short timescales.
The development of an NPL calibration transfer strategy to compensate for such affects will be discussed.
In the afternoon John Tipping (Environment Agency) and Jeff Ruddle (accreditation manager, Ukas ) will give presentations under the heading 'Mcerts manual stack monitoring - the next five years'.
The scheme has now been operational since February 2002 and the importance of the scheme for regulation and the calibration of CEMS equipment is now at its highest level.
Overall the Mcerts scheme for manual stack monitoring has been a great success and there are currently about 400 individuals and 30 organisations with Mcerts.
The Environment Agency and Ukas will discuss past performance and outline the future regime of auditing and surveillance.
In line with the Agency's objective to continuously improve schemes such as these, John Tipping will explain that recent experiences have indicated the need for increased policing of the scheme, both from an Agency and Ukas perspective.
The implications of this will be discussed.
The widespread availability of Mcerts accredited stack testers has not only benefited Part A Processes; it has also provided the 22,000 Part B Processes in the UK (for whom environmental emissions are regulated by Local Authorities) with easy access to professionally qualified expertise.
However, despite the fact that there is often no price advantage, Dave Curtis from the Source Testing Association reports a number of instances in which companies have contracted stack testers that are not Mcerts accredited and this has meant that key procedures, such as health and safety, have not been followed correctly.
The final conference presentation will be given by William Averdieck, who will provide an overview of the relevant technologies for particulate measurement and calibration of dust monitors using a standard reference method.
The Workshops will run in seven syndicate rooms from 09.45 to 16.15 on both days, offering delegates the opportunity to select those that most accurately meet their needs.
Operating on a walk-in - walk-out basis, the workshops will be flexible and informal providing an opportunity to discuss practical issues with leading experts.
A number of the workshops will continue the multiparameter theme of the conference.
For example, Quantitech will present the latest advances in FTIR monitoring technology, Enviro Technology Services will describe applications for Opsis, Protea will also cover FTIR and Sick (UK) will explain how to meet EN14181 using both NDIR and FTIR.
EN14181 is a quality assurance standard relating to automated measuring systems on stationary source emissions and its practical application in the field is a popular theme within many of the workshops.
These include those being presented by PCME, AES, E.ON UK, RPS Health Safety and Environment, ABB, Signal Group, Envirosoft, CBISS, Sick (UK) and Environmental Compliance.
Almost all of these presentations will outline the companies' experiences with EN14181, offering hints and tips on how to achieve successful compliance.
Looking forward to the 2007 event, Mcerts organiser Marcus Pattison, says: "It will be bigger and better than ever; the conference themes will outline some of the latest technological developments in the market and relate them to the regulatory requirements, a host of new products will be unveiled at the exhibition and the workshops will provide practical help and advice on a myriad of subjects".