Air quality management

The Air Quality Strategy for Scotland, England and Northern Ireland 2007 sets out the government’s air quality objectives and policy options to improve air quality in the UK. As well as direct benefit to public health, these options are intended to provide important options to quality of life and help protect the environment.

A system of Local Air Quality Management has been in place for a number of years with the aim of ensuring the national air quality objectives will be achieved in all areas. This system places a requirement on local authorities to periodically review the current air quality in their areas and assess whether any locations are likely to exceed the national objectives for 8 pollutants that are known to impact on health. The pollutants that require to be assessed by the local authority are:

  • Benzene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • 1,3-butadiene
  • lead
  • nitrogen dioxide
  • sulphur dioxide
  • fine particles

An objective has also been set for ozone, however as ozone levels are influenced by global issues local authorities are not required to assess this pollutant.

If the objective for a pollutant is exceeded, or predicted to be exceeded by the required date for compliance, the local authority must declare the effected area an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). The authority must then draw up and implement an Action Plan to reduce pollution levels in the specified area.

Levels of benzene, carbon monoxide, 1,3-butadiene, lead and sulphur dioxide in Aberdeen are well below the objective values.

Aberdeen City Council declared part of the City Centre an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in June 2001 due to predicted exceedances of the national air quality objectives for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particles (PM10). Two further AQMAs; one for the Anderson Drive/Haudagain roundabout/Auchmill Road corridor and Wellington Road (Queen Elizabeth II Bridge-Balnagask Road) were declared in 2008, again due to exceedances of the NO2 and PM10 objectives. The boundaries of City Centre and Anderson Drive AQMAs have been amended in recent years as a result of new monitoring data. You can view maps of the current AQMAs using the links below:

  • City Centre AQMA 2011
  • Anderson Drive Haudagain roundabout Auchmill Road AQMA 2011
  • Wellington Road Air Quality Management Area

The Air Quality Action Plan 2011, describing measures to improve air quality in the three Air Quality Management Areas, was approved in April 2011. The 2011 Air Quality Action Plan Summary Leaflet provides information on some of the key measures within the Action Plan to improve air quality.


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