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Air quality management

Local authorities are required by law to identify local air quality problems and to take action to tackle them.

Despite considerable improvements in air quality over the last 40 years, air pollution continues to affect human health and our environment. The UK Air Quality Strategy sets out the Government’s plans for improving the air we breathe. The plans focus on reducing concentrations of seven key pollutants by certain dates, to achieve specific health targets. The pollutants and their main sources are;

Pollutant Main source
Benzene Petrol vehicles
1,3-butadiene Road transport and industry
Carbon monoxide Petrol vehicles and industry
Nitrogen dioxide Road transport and power generation
Particles (PM10) Road transport, power generation and industry
Lead Industry and lead petrol vehicles
Sulphur dioxide Power generation and industry

Air quality management areas

Local authorities are responsible for managing air quality, working with local stakeholders. We review and assess air quality within our area to determine whether we are likely to achieve the targets set out in the UK Air Quality Strategy. If we think we will not meet a target, we have to declare an air quality management area (AQMA) covering the part of the district where the problem lies. We must then draw up an air quality action plan stating how we will aim to meet the targets, consulting neighbouring local authorities, businesses, local people, the Highways Agency, the Environment Agency and others.

Air quality monitoring has found levels of nitrogen dioxide that exceed the annual mean objective (40 µg/m3) and in 2010, the following three areas were declared air quality management areas:

  • Staple Hill – at the Broad Street (A4175), High Street (B4465), Victoria Street and Soundwell Road (A4017) crossroads
  • Kingswood – along Regent Street (A420)
  • Cribbs Causeway – adjacent to the M5 Roundabout (Junction 17)

Following the declaration of the air quality management areas, we carried out a further assessment of air quality in these areas. As a result, the air quality management areas in Staple Hill and Kingswood were extended in May 2012.

The Kingswood air quality management area was extended along the A420 road from the South Gloucestershire/ Bristol City Council boundary to the east along Two Mile Hill Road, Regent Street and High Street to the junction of Poplar Terrace/Lansdown View; and to the south along Hanham Road (up to and including The Folly).

The Staple Hill air quality management area was extended from the Broad Street (A4175), High Street (B4465), Victoria Street and Soundwell Road (A4017) crossroads along Broad Street to the junction with York Road; High Street (up to and including No’s 40 and 49); Soundwell Road (up to and including No’s 16a and 47); and along Victoria Street to the junction of Clarence Road.

We produced an Action Plan in 2012 of how we aim to improve air quality in the Kingswood and Staple Hill air quality management areas.

The further assessment of the Cribbs Causeway air quality management area revealed that levels of nitrogen dioxide were in fact below the annual mean objective in 2010. The 2011 monitoring results also showed nitrogen dioxide levels were below the annual mean objective. However, following Defra advice, the AQMA will be retained, as pollutant concentrations can vary from one year to another and also in light of the proposed development in the vicinity. We will continue to monitor and review the results. A map can be downloaded of the Cribbs Causeway air quality management area.

In 2014, the Detailed Assessment of air quality on the A420 confirmed exceedances of the annual mean nitrogen dioxide objective in Kingswood and Warmley to the east of the existing Kingswood AQMA. Following consultation, the Kingswood AQMA was extended eastwards along the A420 to Warmley (to the junction of Goldney Avenue). A map can be downloaded of the Kingswood – Warmley AQMA. The Action Plan will be reviewed and updated to cover the new extent of the AQMA.

South Gloucestershire Council previously declared an air quality management area with respect to the annual mean nitrogen dioxide objective 110 metres either side of the M4, M5, M32 and M49 motorways in November 2001. Following more work, this was revoked in March 2004.

Over half of all local authorities in England have declared air quality management areas, which locally include central Bristol, central Bath, Saltford and Keynsham.

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