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Air Quality Assessments

Posted in Education on Sep 30, 2021.

Air quality plays a vital part to our health, unfortunately there are numerous air pollutants that could jeopardize it. Thankfully, air pollutants and poor air quality have been recognized by various legislations, they influence both national and local planning policies and have led to an increase in the requirements for Air Quality Assessments during planning stages of developments.

What is an Air Quality Assessment?

Simply put, it’s an assessment that is carried out to identify the air quality relationship between a source (e.g. road or development) and a receptor (e.g. houses or school). Both the source and the receptor can be existing or proposed developments.

For example, an assessment could be conducted to determine the impact a proposed new factory will have on an existing residential estate or... the impact an existing factory could have on a new residential estate. 

When is an Air Quality Assessment needed for Planning Permissions?

When your proposed development is in an area of poor air quality and/or will have a significant impact on air quality to the surrounding area (either directly or indirectly).

What are Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA)?

As of 1997, each local authority within the UK carries out reviews and assessments of the air quality within their area to measure air pollution and predict how it will change in the coming years. This is to make sure that the national air quality objectives will be achieved throughout the UK by their relevant deadlines.

However, if a local authority finds any areas where the objectives are not likely to be achieved, it must be declared as an AQMA. Even if just one or two streets within the district are not likely to achieve the objectives, the whole district will be declared an AQMA. From there, the local authority will put together a plan in order to improve the air quality of the area, this is known as a Local Air Quality Action Plan.

For example, the City of London declared their AQMA status in January 2001. Their plan of action can be found here: Link

Are Air Quality Assessments just for outdoors?

No, as mentioned in our Clean Air Day post, indoor air pollution can be just as harmful as outdoor air pollution.

Who can carry out Air Quality Assessments?

Why, we can of course! We have the knowledge and software required to carry out air quality assessments for both your indoor or outdoor projects. We're also well versed on BREEAM HEA 02 requirements so we are able to assist if required. If you have any questions or queries, our team would be more than happy to help!

Our contact details can be found here.