Air Quality Review and Assessment
Local Air Quality Management
The Council has a statutory
duty to periodically review and assess the air quality in its area.
This involves comparing the measured or predicted
pollutant levels against National Air Quality Standards
Objectives have been set for the following pollutants;
Ground Level Ozone (O3); Benzene; 1, 3 Butadiene; Lead; Carbon
Monoxide (CO); Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2); Sulphur Dioxide (SO2);
Particulate Matter less than 10 microns in diameter (PM10) and
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).
NB Ozone and PAH remain as national objectives not
prescribed in regulation and presently remain outside the scope of
Local Air Quality Management.
Objectives have been set at levels for which there would be no
or extremely low risk to health. More information on air
pollution and the health affects.
Should the Council identify areas where there may be exceedances
of these objectives, then it is required to carry out more
detailed assessments. Should these exceedances still appear
likely the Council has to designate the areas as Air Quality
Management Areas (AQMAs) and develop Action Plans, setting out how
the authority intends to improve the air quality in order to
achieve the objective levels.
In April 2009 Bedford Borough Council commenced the fourth
round of review and assessment with an Updating and Screening
Assessment (USA). The USA is used to identify those matters that
have changed since the last review and assessment, which might lead
to a risk of an air quality objective being exceeded. The report
confirmed that the annual mean for nitrogen dioxide is widely
exceeded within the new AQMA 5. The report also confirmed
improvements in air quality in Great Barford and Stewartby
following the construction of the Great Barford and the
closure of Stewartby brickworks.
The Town Centre
AQMA 5 was declared on 6th November 2009, the order also
revoked AQMQ 1 (Stewartby for Sulphur Dioxide), AQMA 2 and 3 (High
Street and Prebend Street as the new AQMA encompassed these areas)
and AQMA 4 (Great Barford for Nitrogen Dioxide).
To view all Bedford Boroughs review and
assessment reports please click here.
Monitoring within the Borough
The Environmental Health department carry out air quality
monitoring around the Borough to asses the air quality. This
includes the use of diffusion tubes, small plastic tubes that
absorb pollutants, which are then sent to a laboratory for
analysis. The results obtained are monthly averages and are used to
give long term trends in levels of pollutants in an area.
Real time analysers are also used that accurately
measure levels of pollutants in the air constantly.
Bedford currently uses 65 diffusion tubes to monitor nitrogen
dioxide and 2 real time analysers to monitor nitrogen dioxide,
located on the Prebend Street and Lurke Street.
and Bedfordshire Air Quality Network
The Herts and Beds Air Quality Monitoring Network was formed in
1999 by all the District/Borough Councils in the two counties and
ERG (Kings College London). Luton Airport also joined the
Network in 2003.
The Network was formed principally to collate and report air
quality monitoring results from across the region. The network's
- to provide the public with easy and free access to information
about the quality of the air that they are breathing
- to provide regular reports comparing air quality across the
- to assist in developing local and national strategies to
improve air quality
- to set up an archive of monitoring results
- to ensure a consistently high standard of monitoring data
across the region.
The equipment used to accurately monitor air pollutants is
complex and very sensitive. Consequently, purchase and running
costs of each continuous monitoring site are high. By sharing
information across the network, the local authorities can create a
more comprehensive and detailed picture of pollution levels
throughout the two counties.
The Network maintains a joint website
Monitoring data and information on air quality can be
viewed or downloaded.