Nitrogen oxides or nitrous oxide? The errors in DEFRA's emissions database revealed

Transcription errors and missing decimal points mean that some entries in DEFRA's key database of industrial pollutant releases are inaccurate, an ENDS investigation has found. Gareth Simkins reports.

Almost 10 years since it was established, the government’s database of industrial emissions to air, water and land is still laced with obvious and nonsensical errors.

Incorrect data on the magnitude of pollution – in some cases out by a factor of a thousand – is published in the UK’s Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR), repeating issues identified by ENDS a decade ago.

The Dragon LNG terminal on the Pembroke estuary, co-owned by Shell and infrastructure investors Ancala, is shown as having emitted 287,000t of nitrogen oxides (NOx) in 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available. That is an order of magnitude more than any other source in the country.

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