Air quality

Air quality Central Bedfordshire

In general the air quality in Central Bedfordshire meets the Air Quality Objective levels set by the Government.

To check the air quality in Bedfordshire

Visit the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Air Quality Network (link opens in new window) website to view air quality data.

Dunstable

Currently there is one declared Air Quality Management Area currently in force. This is in Dunstable, and was declared in January 2005. The pollutant of concern is nitrogen dioxide which principally is due to road traffic.

An Air Quality Action Plan is currently being developed in order to identify options to work towards reducing concentrations of nitrogen dioxide to meet the Government's objective level.

There was a second Air Quality Management Area declared in March 2005 in relation to sulphur dioxide emissions from Stewartby Brickworks. The AQMA included the villages of Marston Moretaine and Houghton Conquest and surrounding countryside areas.

However, as of February 2008 Stewartby Brickworks ceased production of bricks at this site as a result of not being able to achieve the air quality objectives for sulphur dioxide. This area was therefore revoked, as sulphur dioxide levels have reduced dramatically.

Central Bedfordshire Council continues to monitor the air quality in its district. Currently it monitors for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PM10) and ground level ozone (O3).

How we measure pollutants

There are essentially 2 methods of measuring pollutant concentrations:

  • diffusion tubes – these are small plastic tubes that absorb pollutants, which are then sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results obtained are monthly averages and are used to give long term trends in levels of pollutants in an area
  • real time analysers – using machines that accurately measure levels of pollutants in the air constantly

Currently Central Bedfordshire uses some 47 passive diffusion tubes to monitor nitrogen dioxide and 4 real time analysers to monitor nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and ground level ozone.

Visit the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Air Quality Network (link opens in new window) website to view air quality data.

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