Local air quality management
The national Air Quality Strategy and Air Quality Regulations allocates each local authority to take responsibility for the air quality within its boundaries, and to work towards meeting the overall objectives required by the NAQS. This move is often described as Local Air Quality Management (LAQM). The air quality parameters relate to eight specified pollutants most of which are mainly generated by traffic. These eight pollutants include nitrogen dioxide, benzene, carbon monoxide and lead.
Local authorities are required to periodically review and assess the current and future quality of air in their areas against those in the strategy and report annually to DEFRA by way of Progress Reports, Updating and Screening Assessments or Detailed Assessments. Such reports help retain and provide information on air quality and identify any risks or likely risks of exceedence of the applied air quality objectives. The reports are largely based on results obtained from diffusion tubes placed at 26 sites across the district.
Timescales for Review and Assessment (to download completed reports click on the highlighted reports within the table below. These files open in a new window.).
Each stage of review and assessment has required either:
Annual Progress Reports: Report progress on implementing local air quality management; and in achieving, or in many cases maintaining, concentrations below the air quality objectives. The minimum requirements of the report are to summarise new monitoring results and new local developments or permitted processes that might affect local air quality.
Updating and Screening Assessments: Identify new sources or further risks to air quality in the area and further assess the risk of exceedences of the air quality objectives, including those not monitored. This is achieved by inputting a variety of data including transportation information, ie traffic, speed, and vehicle classification data and also local meteorological data into a computerised dispersion model, which is further validated using actual monitored air quality results.
Detailed Assessments: Further assessment of an area using dispersion modelling where either of the above stages has identified a risk of exceedance of an air quality objective. Detailed assessments may require the use of a more robust air quality monitoring method, ie chemiluminescence monitoring. West Northamptonshire Council Daventry area have not proceeded to Detailed Assessment as yet because pollution levels across the district have yet to exceed the regulatory thresholds.
Air Quality Management Area: In areas where a Detailed Assessment has established that an air quality objective is not anticipated to be met, Local Authorities are required to declare Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) and implement action plans to improve air quality, ie the implementation of traffic schemes. West Northamptonshire Council Daventry area have not monitored levels of pollution that would require the declaration of an AQMA.