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Local air quality

Since 1997 local authorities in the UK have been carrying out a review and assessment of air quality in their areas. The aim of the review is to assist authorities in carrying out their statutory duty to work towards meeting the national air quality objectives. If a local authority finds any places where the objectives are not likely to be achieved, it must declare an Air Quality Management Area there.

National perspective on assessing air quality

The LAQM process places an obligation on all local authorities to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas, and to determine whether or not the air quality objectives (health based objectives) are likely to be achieved.  Where exceedences are considered likely, the local authority must then declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and prepare an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) setting out the measures it intends to put in place in pursuit of the objectives.

Air quality objectives included in regulations for the purpose of local air quality management in England

European obligations based on exposures to residents (not roadside levels)

pdf icon Air Quality Objectives [207kb]

How we monitor air pollution

We carry out non automatic monitoring within the district using diffusion tubes. Information on diffusion tubes

Summarised data from this monitoring is contained within our review and assessment reports - see below.

Air quality management area's and air quality action plan

The aim of the review and assessment process is to make sure that the national air quality objectives will be achieved within our district. These objectives have been put in place to protect people's health and the environment.

If a local authority finds any places where the objectives are not likely to be achieved, it must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) there. This area could be just one or two streets, or it could be much bigger. In Boston two such areas were declared for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in the Haven Bridge & Bargate Bridge areas. NO2 comes largely from combustion process and source can be both industrial and domestic however the main source of NO2 in both Boston and nationally is the motor vehicle. In both the Bargate & Haven Bridge areas compliance with the national objectives was considered marginal and there was a risk of exceeding the objectives and therefore air quality management areas were declared.

We have put together in conjunction with Lincolnshire County Council a plan to improve the air quality following the declarations - this is called a Local Air Quality Action Plan (LAQP). A number of the actions have been completed such as the road widening on the Spalding Road through to Asda to improve traffic flows. pdf icon Joint AQAP update 2010 [97kb]

Lincolnshire County Council and Boston Borough Council has recently published the latest Boston Transport Strategy 2016 - 2032 which gives information on how these authorities in conjunction with other partners will improve accessibilty and a sustainable transport network to support the growth of Boston and tackle air quality issues. pdf icon Boston Transport Strategy 2016-2032 [9Mb]

In addition to local measures contained within the action plan Government has taken measures over time to reduce air pollution and many of these have been aimed at the motor vehicle. The UK Government published a pdf icon Draft UK Air Quality Strategy May 2017 [1Mb]for consultation in May 2017 and will issue a new plan to tackle poor air quality in the Autumn of 2017.

Air monitoring has demonstrated compliance with the annual mean NO2 objective in all areas in Boston except in the AQMA's. We will assess concentrations recorded in 2016 before deciding whether it may be appropriate to revoke the existing AQMAs. This proposal is supported by DEFRA. pdf icon AQ Progress Report 2011 - Appraisal by DEFRA [24kb]

Air quality and health

If you are in good health the levels of air pollution we usually experience in the UK are unlikely to have any serious short-term effects. But in the rare occasions when air pollution levels are high, some people may feel discomfort and irritation.

People with respiratory conditions are at greater risk, especially if they are elderly. Daily changes in air pollution can trigger increased admissions to hospital and may contribute to the premature death of those who are seriously ill. Those with severe lung diseases or heart conditions might be more sensitive to changes in air pollution.

Long term exposure to air pollution is unlikely to increase the number of people with asthma but people who already suffer from asthma may find their condition adversely affected.

Get the up to date air quality forcast

Latest air pollution data

For further information on air quality and health:

DEFRA - air pollution & health pages

How can I help reduce air pollution?

There are many ways to prevent and reduce air pollution:

· using less energy at home means that less coal, oil and gas are burnt, and less air pollution is given off

· using public transport, cycling or walking more instead of driving will reduce traffic pollution

· if you need to drive, there are techniques that help you use less fuel, like driving more slowly and smoothly

Related documents

Size Name
[894kb] AQ Progress Report 2011 Boston air quality annual progress report 2011
[24kb] AQ Progress Report 2011 - Appraisal by DEFRA DEFRA's appraisal of Boston air quality annual progress report 2011
[97kb] Joint AQAP update 2010 Updated air quality action plan for Boston 2010
[207kb] Air Quality Objectives Air Quality Objectives
[1Mb] Updating Screening and Assessment 2012 Air Quality Report Boston Borough Council 2012
[1Mb] LAQM Progress Report 2013 Local Air Quality Progress Report 2013 - Boston
[2Mb] LAQM Progress Report 2014 Local Air Quality Report 2014
[1Mb] Updating & Screening Assessment 2015 Air Quality Report Boston Borough Council 2015
[146kb] Updating & Screening Assessment Appraisal Report Defra's Appraisal of Boston Borough Councils Updating & Screening Assessment 2015
[647kb] Air Quality Annual Status Report 2016 Air Quality Assessment for Boston 2016
[9Mb] Boston Transport Strategy 2016-2032 Boston Transport Strategy 2016-2032
[1Mb] Draft UK Air Quality Strategy May 2017 Draft UK Air Quality Strategy May 2017

The documents in this section are in Adobe Acrobat format (pdf). You will need Acrobat Reader to view these files which can be downloaded from the Adobe website free of charge.