Every year we are required to carry out a review and assessment of air quality in our district. This involves measuring air pollution and trying to predict how it will change in the next few years. The Government has laid down a set of national air quality objectives to protect people's health and the environment. The aim of the review is to make sure that you achieve these national air quality objectives by the relevant deadlines that have been set.
The assessment uses a range of screening methods, such as the identification of specific air pollution sources, like busy roads or junctions, certain industrial processes and local pollution monitoring data. It considers whether there is a possibility of exceeding any of the national Air Quality Objectives, for example, houses (but not workplaces). If this initial screening assessment suggests that there is a risk of a breach of any of these standards, we are required to carry out a more in-depth study called a Detailed Assessment to obtain data that is more accurate. This may involve detailed monitoring and pollution modelling.
If we find any places where you do not meet the objectives, we must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) there. This area could be just one or two streets, or it could be much bigger. We have to be very careful to control any additional pollution in an AQMA, usually through the planning system, or by imposing tighter emission limits on some types of industrial activities. We would also work with other organisations to develop a plan, called a Local Air Quality Action Plan, to reduce the pollution within the AQMA.
You can download our Air Quality Assessment Reports using the links below:
See Air Quality UK website for further technical information on air quality.
See DEFRA's UK air information resource for information on air quality statistics, current air quality and the pollution forecast.