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About air quality

Local authorities have a duty to monitor air quality within their areas having regard to national air quality objectives and standards and report this information to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on an annual basis. There are seven pollutants which we are required to consider under European and UK law, these include lead, benzene and sulphur dioxide.

Air quality in Wiltshire is predominantly good with the majority of the county having clean unpolluted air. There are however a small number of locations where the combination of traffic, road layout and geography has resulted in exceedences of the annual average for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulates (PM10).

Given that the primary source of the pollutants is vehicle emissions, finding solutions is a challenge for us all to rise to.

We fundamentally believe that the needs of the local community are at the heart of what we do at Wiltshire Council. It is our objective to work together with communities to solve problems locally and participate in decisions that affect them and as a result build stronger more resilient communities.

An improvement to air quality requires an integrated approach on the part of agencies, partners and communities.  We must, therefore, adopt more innovative ways of working to improve the air quality in those areas that require action.

Wiltshire Council has produced an Air Quality Strategy which is a high level guiding document to inform policy and direction across a range of council services with the aim to improve air quality. The main aim of the strategy is that:

Wiltshire Council working collaboratively will seek to maintain the good air quality in the county and strive to deliver improvements in areas where air quality fails national objectives in order to protect public health and the environment

Delivering improvements to local air quality requires input from a wide range of planning and other professions. The Air Quality Strategy 2011- 2015 Air Quality Strategy 2011-2015 (PDF) and the Wiltshire Air Quality Action Plan are key documents which identify the importance of good air quality to the people of Wiltshire. They provide a focus and mechanism to promote communication and cooperation within Wiltshire Council, between external organisations and with the community to address localised areas of poor air quality in the area.