Air quality

Pollutants we monitor

The council has a statutory duty to periodically review and assess the air quality in its area. This involves comparing the measured or predicted pollutant levels against National Air Quality Standards and Objectives.

Objectives have been set for the following pollutants:

  • ground level ozone (O3)
  • benzene
  • butadiene
  • lead
  • carbon monoxide (CO)
  • nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
  • sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10)
  • polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)

Note: Ozone and PAH remain as national objectives not prescribed in regulation and presently remain outside the scope of Local Air Quality Management.

Objectives have been set at levels for which there would be no or extremely low risk to health.

Should the council identify areas where levels may exceed these objectives, then it is required to carry out more detailed assessments.

Should they continue to exceed, the council has to designate the area as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and develop Action Plans, setting out how the authority intends to improve the air quality in order to achieve the objective levels.

Visit the Defra (link opens in new window) website for more information on the health effects of air pollution (link opens in new window) and to learn more about what causes air pollution (link opens in new window).

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