Air quality

Air is full of particles and gases from both nature and man-made sources, and substances like pollen or emissions from industry, vehicles, buildings or agricultural chemicals and sprays can all contribute to pollution in the air.

Nitric oxide (NO) is produced during high temperature burning of fuel (e.g. road vehicles, heaters and cookers). When this mixes with air, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is formed. Levels are highest in urban areas as it is a traffic-related pollutant. Road transport is estimated to be responsible for about 50% of total emissions for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

Air pollution has an effect on our health which is why the government requires councils in all areas to monitor pollution levels. Legislation for air quality includes;

Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) must be declared where these Government standards are not being met. An Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) is prepared for these areas and will provide target actions to improve air quality.

What are we doing to test air quality in East Hampshire?

In East Hampshire we enjoy satisfactory air quality conditions.

We measure Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) at several locations with the potential for elevated levels around the district using ‘diffusion tubes’. These are small plastic tubes that sample nitrogen dioxide for one month before being sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are provided to DEFRA for comparisons across the country and National Air Quality Objectives set by the Government and released annually.

The air quality standards are for a 12-month rolling average, the limit set by UK and EU legislation of 40μg/m3 for (Micrograms per cubic metre) for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

The table below shows some important pollutants results set against the guidance levels of the previous year’s report (report 2019).

Pollutant Target/ Limit values EHDC result (2019) What does this mean?
NO2 – 1 hour mean 200 µg/m3 not to be exceeded more than 18 times a year Regularly and routinely below target in all areas GOOD
NO2 – 1 hour mean 40 µg/m3 Regularly and routinely below target in all areas GOOD
Particles (PM10) – 24 hour mean 50 µg/m3 not to be exceeded more than 35 times a year Target met GOOD
Particles (PM10) – 24 hour mean 40 µg/m3 Target met GOOD
Particles (PM2.5) – exposure reduction annual mean -25 µg/m3 Target met GOOD

Annual status report

This report forms part of the review and assessment of air quality in East Hampshire.

If you require further information about Air Quality within the district please contact our environmental health team by emailing ehealth@easthants.gov.uk

Additional information about air quality can also be found on the UK Air Information Resource website and the World Health Organisation website.