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Preparing an air quality assessment

Find out if your development proposals need an air quality assessment.

Air quality is a material consideration in planning applications when:

  • a development is likely to cause a deterioration in local air quality
  • a development is located in an area of poor air quality
  • granting planning permission would conflict with, or render unworkable, elements of an air quality action plan
  • the construction/demolition phase of the development would have a significant impact on the locality.

When to consider an air quality assessment

The following are examples of cases when an Air Quality Assessment should be considered:

  • when proposals will result in increased congestion, or a change in traffic volumes and/or vehicle speed

  • when proposals would significantly alter the traffic composition in an area, such as bus stations, HGV parks and new road layouts

  • when proposals include new car, coach or lorry parks

  • when developments could affect sensitive areas or areas of poor air quality.

This is not a definitive list and the decision as to whether an assessment is required should be based on the physical characteristics of the proposal and/or the changes in traffic flows.

Where an air quality assessment is required, a report comprising:

  • the results of the assessment, and
  • recommendations for minimising or eliminating the impact on the local area

must be produced.

You must submit the assessment through the Planning department before we can consider your application. Where necessary, we may appoint independent consultants to review an assessment.

Aim of the assessment

The aim of an air quality assessment is to demonstrate the likely changes in air quality as a result of a proposed development.

The Council decides the significance of the air quality impacts, and therefore decides the priority given to air quality concerns. The assessment needs to provide sufficient information to allow this decision to be made.

The assessment should compare the existing situation with that following completion of the development (with other planned developments included), and determine the expected changes in air quality.

The assessment should compare predicted pollutant concentrations with relevant air quality objectives. It should take into account the current and proposed limits of the Air Quality Strategy objectives.

We recommend you contact us for advice before you prepare an air quality assessment.