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Air Quality - Frequently Asked Questions

Environmental Health (Environmental Protection), Appletree Court, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7PA. Tel - 023 8028 5411 - option 2; Email -


Why does New Forest District Council check air quality across the district?

The Environment Act 1995 places a duty on Local Authorities to review the air quality in their area. Local air quality is assessed at locations of relevant exposure such as residential properties, schools and care homes, and reviewed against national Air Quality Objectives. This process to review and assess local air quality in England commenced in 1997 but has been regularly reviewed and updated by Government.

What pollutants are assessed by the Authority?

New Forest District Council carries out an assessment for the following pollutants in accordance with the National Air Quality Strategy to ensure the standards and objectives will be met. These are:

  • Particulates (PM10)
  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)

 How are the pollutants monitored?

Government guidance is used to determine which pollutants require monitoring or modelling in certain areas to establish if the objectives will be met. Various monitoring techniques are used including real time monitoring and diffusion tubes which give pollutant concentrations over an averaging period.

What if the objectives are not met?

If it is determined that any of the Air Quality Objectives are not being or are unlikely to be met, the Local Authority has a duty to declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), to carry out an assessment and then develop an Action Plan by working with other relevant stakeholders such as industry or Hampshire County Council. The aim of the Action Plan is to reduce the pollutant concentration(s) in pursuit of the Air Quality Objective(s).

Are there any Air Quality Management Areas within the District?

Following monitoring work undertaken from 2002, three AQMA's were formally declared in 2005 in Lyndhurst, Totton and Fawley. The AQMA's in Lyndhurst and Totton are with regards to the likely exceedance of the nitrogen dioxide annual mean objective. The AQMA in Fawley was with regards to the likely exceedance of the sulphur dioxide 15 minute mean objective.

Due to improvements in local air quality, the Fawley AQMA was formally revoked in 2013 and the Totton AQMA was revoked in 2016.

I have seen reports concerning the health impacts from airborne pollution, what is New Forest District Council doing to reduce pollution?

Recent scientific evidence has shown the impact of airborne pollution on our health such as respiratory and cardiovascular problems. The more vulnerable members of our communities for example the young, elderly and those with chronic health problems are more susceptible to the effects of air pollution. Therefore it is important that everyone understands the problem and takes steps to reduce or avoid air pollution.

In addition to the Council's statutory function to review and assess local air quality (and declare AQMA's when required) as detailed above, there is a new requirement to link with Public Health England to improve airborne pollution in our communities. Whilst there are many sources of airborne pollution, vehicle emissions are one of the main sources. By working to reduce vehicle emissions it is hoped that the health and well-being of individuals in our communities will also improve.

Furthermore the Council will be looking at ways to provide information to our communities on air quality, giving practical advice on how to reduce producing air pollution as individuals, businesses and communities, and how to make practical decisions to avoid areas of poorer air quality.

Where can I find information on the pollutants and air quality within the New Forest including reports within the review and assessment process?

The link; air quality details information on the pollutants, current air quality monitoring within the New Forest and associated review and assessment reports.

Where can I find further information on air quality?

Further information can also be found on the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affair's (DEFRA) website


Updated: 27 Sep 2016
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