Air pollution

Air quality

Air quality is a term used to describe how polluted the air we breathe is. Pollutants in the air may be hazardous to people's health. Air quality has improved significantly in recent decades, but there are still unacceptable levels of air pollution in many towns and cities in the UK.

The main causes of poor air quality are industrial and road traffic emissions with diesel fuel being the biggest source of pollution in many towns and cities across the UK.

Less well known is the pollution that comes from heating appliances including wood burning stoves and open fires. Further information on how to reduce the pollution from these can be found on our pageOpen fires and wood burning stoves.

National government and local authorities are committed to improving air quality, a commitment that has been written into law. 

The pollutants of main concern are:

  • Nitrogen dioxide: The annual mean concentration should not exceed 40µg/m3. The one-hour mean objective should not exceed 200µg/m3 more than 18 times per year.
  • Particulate matter (PM10): The annual mean concentration should not exceed 40µg/m3. The 24-hour mean objective should not exceed 50µg/m3 more than 35 times per year.

Radon

We are continually exposed to low level radiation throughout our life, which is perfectly normal and does not cause any health effects.

Radon is a radioactive gas, we can't see, smell or taste it: you need special equipment to detect it. It comes from the rocks and soil found everywhere in the UK. The radon level in the air we breathe outside is very low but can be higher inside buildings.

Public Health England provides adetailed guide about Radon on its website.


Last updated: 19/05/2022 14:37:22