Air Pollution and Air Quality

Clean air is important for good health. We regulate industrial, commercial and domestic activities that emit pollution in order control and reduce air pollution. We also monitor air pollution levels and work with others to develop and implement air quality action plans to reduce air pollution and improve air quality.

Air Quality

The process originally identified three areas of the city in which pollution levels may exceed particular National Air Quality Objectives by 2005. The Air Quality Management Order No.1 (sulphur dioxide) was revoked in April 2007, the two remaining Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) are:

  • Nottingham No2 AQMA: City centre north, east and south (nitrogen dioxide), and
  • Nottingham No.3 AQMA: Dunkirk (nitrogen dioxide)

Where AQMAs are declared local authorities are required to devise and publish Action Plans. Where AQMAs arise from road transport local authorities are encouraged to incorporate any Action Plans within the Local Transport Strategy. Nottingham City Council has done this.

Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) station

Nottingham City Council continues to be the local site operator for the Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN) station on Clinton Street East. The station contains precision real-time air quality monitors and is operated on behalf of DEFRA. The station measures a number of pollutants and the information obtained is updated hourly on the National Air Quality Information Archive web-site. The data is also used to provide a guide to current local air quality in a quality-banding format.

Pollutants measured by the AURN station


Main Sources


Benzene Petrol combustion and distribution Carcinogen
Sulphur Dioxide Power generation, diesel combustion and industry Irritates the airways of the lungs and can increase the symptoms of those suffering from lung disease
Ozone By product of chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen and other chemicals catalysed by sunlight Irritates the airways of the lungs and can increase the symptoms of those suffering from lung disease.
Nitrogen Dioxide Road transport, power generation and industrial combustion processes Irritates the airways of the lungs and can increase the symptoms of those suffering from lung disease.
Particles/Particulates (PM2.5, PM10) Road transport, power generation and industry Fine particles cause lung inflammation and worsening of lung and heart conditions

Nottingham City Council monitors oxides of nitrogen at Carter Gate and Lace Street and have a network of approximately 30 nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes at sites in and around both AQMAs.

Due to the cross-boundary nature of air pollution, Nottingham City Council is continuing to co-ordinate its process of local air quality management with its neighbouring authorities.

Because of increasing evidence that the UK would not meet the nitrogen dioxide annual mean air quality objective by the due date the previous administration published 'Air Quality Plans for the achievement of EU air quality limit values for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the UK', and for each affected agglomeration.  For more information, click here to see the Defra web page.