Air is polluted if it contains substances which have a harmful effect on the environment and health or cause a nuisance. We depend on clean air for our well-being and there is no doubt that air pollution causes a range of health effects from minor symptoms such as headaches, sore throats and coughs to more serious problems such as difficulty in breathing and aggravation of respiratory conditions.
Everyday activities have the potential to pollute the air such as fumes from road traffic, fuel-burning heating devices and industrial emissions.
Local air quality management
The Environment Act 1995 places a duty on local authorities to manage air quality in their area and work towards meeting national objectives. The National Air Quality Strategy sets standards for the eight main air pollutants and objectives for the UK. If investigations indicate objectives are being exceeded, an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) must be declared covering the affected area. Action plans must then be drawn up setting out how further objectives are to be achieved.
Air quality in Newark and Sherwood
We review and assess local air quality on an annual basis and submit a report of our findings to the Government. Each year the report progressively updates the information since the last submission by considering new monitoring data for the area, new sources of emissions to air and changes to existing sources that may be significant to local air quality.
During 2011 our report indicated that within the district all relevant air quality objectives were likely to be met at all locations. This conclusion was accepted by DEFRA.