Air quality management

The Environment Act 1995 introduced a local air quality management (LAQM) system that set health-based air quality 'objectives' relating to common pollutants found in cities. The LAQM process places an obligation on all local authorities to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas, and to determine whether the air quality objectives are likely to be achieved. The statutory air quality objectives applicable to LAQM in England, can be found here: 

Air pollution in Hambleton

The major source of air pollution within Hambleton is from road transport. The A1(M) and A19 run north/south through the district, but they do not impact on the major population centres. However, there are a number of key 'A' and 'B' class roads that run through the towns, villages and rural areas of the District and these can generate substantial traffic flows that lead to localised congestion and potential impact on air quality.

The air quality across Hambleton is for the most part very good and rates amongst some of the best in North Yorkshire. However, there are some locations where traffic emissions build up, and we continue to be proactive in monitoring these locations to ensure the objectives are not exceeded. Air quality in Hambleton is something we should all protect, we should not become complacent, and we all have an obligation to ensure air quality does not deteriorate.

In 2017 a review of the council’s local plan resulted in the following measures aimed at improving air quality:

  • the introduction of eight new monitoring sites
  • the relocated of 14 sites (Jan 18) to the A684 Stokesley Road and the Surrounding areas near to the North Northallerton development scheme
  • an amendment to taxi licensing policy

Long term monitoring trends within Northallerton have demonstrated a 28% reduction in nitrogen dioxide concentrations since 2002. Other sites across the district have also shown reductions between 13 and 48%.

Air quality monitoring

We currently monitor Nitrogen Dioxide (NO²) as this is one of the primary pollutants from road traffic emissions and the most likely to exceed air quality objectives within Hambleton. We have been monitoring NO² levels since 1993.

NO² monitoring takes place at various locations across the district, and the results help us identify areas where air quality objectives are at risk of being exceeded. We regularly review our monitoring locations and the number of monitoring sites required to give a representative sample. The results are compiled and submitted to Defra on an annual basis as part of the air quality review and assessment process.

The following map shows an overview of the current monitoring locations. By zooming into the map and selecting a symbol will provide you with further information.


Air Quality Management Areas

Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) are declared when there is an exceedance or likely exceedance of an air quality objective. After declaration, the authority must prepare an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) within 12-18 months setting out measures it intends to put in place in pursuit of improved air quality and compliance with the objectives.

Air Quality Management Areas in Hambleton

Hambleton District Council has only one active AQMA in Bedale. This AQMA was declared on 1 November 2017 following an exceedance of air quality objectives. The annual status report of 2016 identified this exceedance and following advice received from Defra an AQMA was declared.

The Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) submitted to Defra in support of the AQMA declaration specified  the main mechanism for reducing pollution levels in the AQMA was a reduction of traffic flow through the former A684 corridor. It was anticipated that the planned Bedale Aiskew and Leeming Bar bypass scheme would result in reduced traffic flow.

In August 2016, the bypass opened diverting traffic away from the former A684 corridor. The resultant reduction in traffic volumes in Bedale town centre and along the former A684 corridor  has produced a corresponding reduction in monitored NO2 concentrations at the sites in and around the AQMA. We continue to monitor this site, and the AQMA will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

You can see all AQMA orders here:

Further information

Contact the Environmental Health Team:

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