Air Quality

Nottingham City Council undertakes assessments of air quality as part of the Local Air Quality Management process as required by The Environment Act 1995 and the National Air Quality Strategy. This page gives details of the main pollutants that are monitored.

Clean Air

Clean air is essential for health and for maintaining a good quality of life. The Pollution Control Team is responsible for regulating industrial, commercial and domestic activities that cause air pollution, monitoring the quality of air in Nottingham, and ensuring that information regarding air quality in our area is accurate and readily available.

The process originally identified three areas of the city in which pollution levels may exceed particular National Air Quality Objectives by 2005. The Air Quality Management Order No.1 (sulphur dioxide) was revoked in April 2007, the two remaining Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) are:

  • Nottingham No2 AQMA: City centre north, east and south (nitrogen dioxide), and
  • Nottingham No.3 AQMA: Dunkirk / Clifton Boulevard encompassing the Queen's Medical Centre site (nitrogen dioxide)

Where AQMAs are declared local authorities are required to devise and publish Action Plans. Where AQMAs arise from road transport local authorities are encouraged to incorporate any Action Plans within the Local Transport Strategy. Nottingham City Council has done this.

Nottingham City Council continues to be the local site operator for the Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) station on Clinton Street East. The station contains precision real-time air quality monitors and is operated on behalf of DEFRA. The station measures a number of pollutants and the information obtained is updated hourly on the National Air Quality Information Archive web-site.  The data is also used to provide a guide to current local air quality in a quality-banding format.

Pollutants measured by the AURN station:

Pollutant

Main Sources

Effects

Benzene

Petrol combustion and distribution

Carcinogen

Sulphur Dioxide

Power generation, diesel combustion and industry

Irritates the airways of the lungs and can increase the symptoms of those suffering from lung disease

Ozone

By product of chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and other chemicals catalysed by sunlight

Irritates the airways of the lungs and can increase the symptoms of those suffering from lung disease.

Nitrogen Dioxide

Road transport, power generation and industrial combustion processes

Irritates the airways of the lungs and can increase the symptoms of those suffering from lung disease.

Particulates (PM10)

Road transport, power generation and industry

Fine particles cause lung inflammation and worsening of lung and heart conditions

Nottingham City Council monitors oxides of nitrogen at Carter Gate and Lace Street and have a network of approximately 30 nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes at sites in and around both AQMAs.

Due to the cross-boundary nature of air pollution, Nottingham City Council is continuing to co-ordinate its process of local air quality management with its neighbouring authorities.

Because of increasing evidence that the UK would not meet the nitrogen dioxide annual mean air quality objective by the due date the previous administration published 'Air Quality Plans for the achievement of EU air quality limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the UK', and for each affected agglomeration.  For more information, click here to see the Defra web page.

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