The council's statutory review and assessment
The Environment Act 1995 requires local authorities to manage local air quality. The Government set objective concentrations for the protection of health from seven air pollutants to be met between 2003 and 2008. Where they are unlikely to be achieved, local authorities must designate these areas as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). In these areas local authorities must draw up plans to try and ensure air quality objectives are met. Plans may include action to be taken both within and outside an AQMA and could extend beyond a single District Council's area and involve several Council's working together. In addition all local authorities, whether they have any AQMAs on their District or not, are recommended to devise local air quality strategies to properly manage air quality.
The Statutory review and assessment of local air quality was a three stage process with progression to the next stage if there is likely to be a breach of an objective set for an air pollutant. The first and second stage concern the identification of existing and proposed sources of pollutants and making future predictions of pollutant concentrations using current monitoring data or by modelling. The third stage usually involves sophisticated modelling and monitoring techniques to provide an accurate assessment of current and future air quality.
Continued review and assessment
Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 makes it a statutory requirement for local authorities to continue to review and assess the current and future air quality in their areas against objectives set out for key air pollutants, under the provisions of the National Air Quality Regulations 2000 and the Air Quality (Amendment) Regulations 2002.
Review and assessment is now undertaken using a phased approach, initially conducting an ‘Updating and Screening Assessment and then a ‘Detailed Assessment where the updating and screening assessment indicates that an Air Quality Objective may be compromised.
Updating and Screening Assessments are undertaken every three years. To ensure continuity with the LAQM process Ashfield District Council produce and submit annual Progress Reports to Defra in years when an Updating and Screening Assessment is not required. Ashfield District Council has not had to designate any Air Quality Management Areas with the district boundaries and continues to monitor pollutants within the district in order to comply with legislation. All reports submitted to Defra need to be approved and also made available to the general public.
For more information or to report a problem please contact environmental protection.