The quality of air is important to health and the quality of life. All local authorities (LAs) are obliged to review and assess air quality under the Environment Act 1995. The Act required the UK Government to prepare an Air Quality Strategy (AQS) for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The UK AQS was published in January 2000 with a revised version published in July 2007. Within the AQS, national air quality objectives are set out, and LAs are required to review and assess air quality against these objectives.
Norwich City Council currently monitors air quality for four pollutants considered to be of concern to human health: Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Particles (PM10 & PM2.5). Ozone (O3) is also monitored, though due to the transboundary nature of this pollutant, and thus the limited effectiveness of action on a local scale, it is not included in the regulations for local air quality management. This exclusion currently applies to PM2.5 also.
In Norwich there were originally three areas identified where measurements and modelling showed that air quality was likely to exceed the annual objective for NO2. These were at Grapes Hill, St Augustines Street and an area around the Castle. These areas were therefore declared as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in June 2003. The council subsequently developed an action plan in which it stated what measures were needed to improve air quality in these areas. In 2005 the Government issued an addendum to their local air quality management guidance. The revised guidance removed the requirement to produce separate air quality action plans where an air quality problem arose due to transport pollution. Instead, local authorities were free to address this through the Local Transport Plan (LTP). Therefore Norwich City Council integrated the action plan into the Norfolk LTP in partnership with Norfolk County Council.
In 2008 a Detailed Assessment (DA) was carried out in locations at King Street and Riverside Road. The DA concluded that an area of Riverside Road should also be declared as an AQMA for exceedence of the NO2 annual mean objective. This declaration was made in December 2009.
The 2010 annual progress report stated that an area of King Street was to be declared as an AQMA and the Grapes Hill AQMA was to be revoked. Bull Close Road was to be the subject of a detailed assessment and declared as an AQMA in 2011 if required.
Having further discussed these issues, Norfolk County Council (as Highways Authority) and Norwich City Council considered the alternative possibility of declaring a larger area of central Norwich as an AQMA. This area would encompass all of the existing AQMAs and also the new areas proposed at King Street and Bull Close Road. The council contacted Defra regarding the proposal for a single larger AQMA. Defra responded positively, stating that they would not object if the council decided to go ahead with the proposal.
The 2011 annual progress report therefore confirmed the council’s intention to declare an area of central Norwich as an AQMA to replace the existing areas and cover the potential areas at King Street and Bull Close Road. This new area came into force on 1st November 2012.
The updating and screening assessment in 2012 identified an exceedence of the short term (hourly) mean objective for NO2. The report recommended that the council should proceed to a detailed assessment to understand the potential for a continuation of the exceedence in this area. The detailed assessment was completed in 2012 and concluded that there may have been a short-term set of circumstances that caused the exceedence. It recommended that monitoring was to continue and be reported in the 2013 annual progress report.
Please click on the links below to see the review and assessment documents for air quality in Norwich.
Review and assessment stage 1
Review and assessment stage 2-3
Review and assessment stage 3 update
Review and assessment stage 4
Norwich draft air quality action plan
2004 Annual progress report
2004 Updating and screening assessment
2005 Annual progress report
2006 Updating and screening assessment
2007 Annual progress report
Provisional local transport plan for Norfolk 2006 to 2011 (4.45 Mb pdf)
2008 Detailed assessment (3.65 Mb pdf)
2009 Updating and screening assesment
2010 Annual progress report
Riverside Road further assessment
2011 Annual report
2012 Updating and screening assessment (4.99 Mb pdf)
2012 Detailed assessment (1.65 Mb pdf)
Concerned about pollution?
The city council investigates all complaints about air pollution. If something is causing a problem with air pollution in the area call 0344 980 3333. We also have an inspection programme to regulate emissions from businesses that might cause significant environmental pollution.
Business and air pollution
A business using processes that may cause air pollution (such as creating odours) may need a permit to operate. Please go to the government's Pollution, prevention and control
website to find out if the business needs to go through an approval process. Examples of such processes include vehicle spray booths, petrol stations, waste oil burners and mobile plant such as concrete crushers. Call the customer contact team on 0344 980 3333 to apply for a permit to operate in Norwich.
Air quality and planning
Potential and existing development can adversely affect the quality of air for potential and existing residents. Therefore, air quality and the release of pollutants to the air are considered material planning consideration for any proposed development. The land owner/developer is considered responsible for assessing the potential effects of the development on the local air quality and to include mitigating factors into the proposed development where necessary. Further information is presented below in Technical Guidance: Air Quality and Land use Planning
.Technical Guidance: Air Quality and Land use Planning
(1.04 Mb pdf)