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Air Quality in Newcastle-under-Lyme

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Air Pollutants and Health Effects

The national air quality objectives are prescribed for seven key pollutants in the air quality regulations. These include nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, lead, 1-3 butadiene, carbon monoxide, benzene and dust. In Newcastle, like much of the UK, nitrogen dioxide from road traffic is the main pollutant of concern. The pollutants we measure in one or more places are:

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – associated with road transport, domestic boilers and industrial processes

Sulphur dioxide (SO2) – associated with power stations, domestic boilers and industry

Particulate matter (PM10) – associated with vehicle exhausts (diesels), boilers and some construction activities

The table below summarises the different air pollutants subject to review and assessment, the potential sources and health effects.

Pollutant Sources Health Effects
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) Cars and power stations (locally cars and heating appliances). Affects breathing and worsens some allergies.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2) Power stations and some industries (locally coal fires). Affects breathing.
Lead (Pb) Cars and some industries. Levels declining since introduction of unleaded petrol. Toxic in high concentrations – can damage nerves, kidneys, joints and reproductive system.
1,3-Butadiene Cars and some industries May cause cancer.
Carbon monoxide (CO) Cars Toxic in high concentrations – affects breathing and ability to concentrate. Can damage the nerves.
Benzene (C6H6) Cars and some industries Can cause cancer.
Particulate Matter (PM10) Some industries, cars and fuel-burning (locally cars and industry Can cause various health effects

What pollutants are monitored by Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council?

The pollutant that we monitor for is Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

How do we monitor?

The Council uses a combination of passive and continuous sampling methods:

Passive Diffusion Tube Sampling

Diffusion tubes are used to sample nitrogen dioxide across an extensive network of sites in the borough. Diffusion tubes are an inexpensive method of monitoring; they provide general indications of concentrations and trends of pollutants over a period of time. The tubes are usually mounted to lamp posts or building frontages and are exposed for a month during which they passively absorb a specific pollutant. At the end of the month they are sent away to a laboratory for analysis and replaced with a new tube.

Automatic Real Time Sampling

One  automatic monitoring station is used to sample for nitrogen dioxide. The station is located in Queen's Gardens and contain high quality nitrogen dioxide chemiluminescent. These are much more expensive than diffusion tubes and highly complex. The information collected is usually accurate and highly reliable; measurements are taken continuously and provide real time concentrations of pollutants.

Where do we monitor?

There are currently 41 nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes located at various sites around the borough. The sites have been chosen to represent locations where air pollution levels might be highest or present particular threats. Nitrogen dioxide tubes are generally located by busy roads or in sites providing background pollutant levels.

Up to date information about air pollution can be found HERE

Air Quality Management Areas in Newcastle-under-Lyme

There are currently four Air Quality Management Areas within Newcastle under Lyme. These have been declared due to exceedances of the NO2 annual mean objective at relevant receptors

Air Quality Action Plan for Newcastle-under-Lyme

In 2018 an Air Quality Action Plan was published for Newcastle-under-Lyme. This document details how the Council is going to be improving air quality both in the 4 Air Quality action Areas and across the borough as a whole.

The Air Quality Action Plan is available to view here

Air Quality Reports

Each year the Council sends a report to government about the air quality within the borough. Links and summaries of previous reports can be found below:

Air Quality Reports for Newcastle-under-Lyme 
Report Description

2019 Annual Status Report (PDF 4.5MB)

Appendices for 2019 Annual Status Report (Excel 180.42kb)

This report is based on data gathered for the 2018 calendar year. It identifies improvements in the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide. However there are still areas  which exceed the annual mean objective and the Council will maintain the AQMAs. Progress on delivery of Air Quality Action Plan measures is also detailed.

The appendices include details of monitoring data for monitoring undertaken across the Borough during the 2019 calendar year.

2018 Annual Status Report (PDF 4.5MB)

Appendices for 2018 Annual Status Report (Excel 180.42kb)

This report is based on data gathered for the 2017 calendar year. It identifies improvements in the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide. However there are still areas  which exceed the annual mean objective and the Council will maintain the AQMAs.

The appendices include details of monitoring data for monitoring undertaken across the Borough during the 2018 calendar year.

2017 Annual Status Report

(PDF 2.2mb)

This report is based on data gathered for the 2016 calendar year. It identifies improvements in the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide. However there are still areas  which exceed the annual mean objective and the Council will maintain the AQMAs.
2016 Annual Status Report (PDF 3.61mb) This report is based on data gathered for the 2015 calendar year. It identifies improvements in the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide. However there are still areas which exceed the annual mean objective and the Council will maintain the AQMAs. The report also discusses for the first time the level of PM2.5 and the impact on health.
2015 Update and Screening Assessment (PDF 4.35mb) This report is based on data gathered for the 2014 calendar year. It identifies exceedances of the Nitrogen Dioxide annual mean objective within the declared Air Quality Management Areas.
2014 Progress Report (PDF 5.13mb) This report confirms that there are higher levels of nitrogen dioxide than the annual mean in four areas of the borough. These are: Madeley (M6 motorway), Kidsgrove (A50 - Liverpool Road), Newcastle Town Centre (A34 Northbound - London Road); Newcastle Town Centre (A53 - King Street), Porthill (A527).
2013 Combined Detailed and Further Assessment (PDF 5mb)

A combined detailed assessment with further assessment was carried out based on results from 2012 to determine the AQMA boundaries.

This report confirms that there are higher levels of nitrogen dioxide than the annual mean in four areas of the borough. These are: Madeley (M6 motorway) Kidsgrove (A50 - Liverpool Road) Newcastle Town Centre (A34 Northbound - London Road); Newcastle Town Centre (A53 - King Street), Porthill (A527).

2013 Progress Report (3.5mb) The report identified five geographical areas where the annual mean objective of nitrogen dioxide was exceeded. These are: Newcastle-under-Lyme Town Centre, Kidsgrove and Porthill. These areas were considered in the 2013 Combined Detailed and Further Assessment to determine the AQMA boundaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Air Quality Ministerial Direction

At the beginning of 2019, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council received a ‘Ministerial Direction’ regarding Air Quality in the borough. It had been identified that in certain areas, the EU limit value for Nitrogen dioxide was being exceeded. Information about the EU limit values can be found here. As a result the Council is currently working with partners in assessing the scale of the issue and identifying and modelling measures to bring about compliance in the shortest possible time.

Planning Applications and Air Quality

Air quality screening and impact assessments must follow the latest guidance recommended by EPUK Land-Use Planning and Development Control: Planning for Air Quality - January 2017 (PDF External Link). 

Assessments must also consider the cumulative effect of the proposed development alongside permitted developments in the area. Details of permitted planning applications can be found on the Council's Planning Application page https://publicaccess.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/online-applications/

Assessments should also include a Damage Cost Assessment for impacts on air quality which do not affect compliance with Statutory Objectives or EU Limit Vales. Where a  proposal is expected to affect compliance with legal limits on air pollution then you should use the Unit Abatement Cost approach for emission changes exceeding the limit. Further guidance can be found online at www.gov.uk/guidance/air-quality-economic-analysis

The most recent ratified monitoring data for air quality modelling purposes can be found in the appendices for the most recent ASR in the table above. Applicants are also expected to demonstrate that any transport model used for AQ modelling has been accepted by Staffordshire County Council. Please visit the County Council's website for relevant contact details. - https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Highways/Roads-and-highways.aspx

 It is requested that the scope and methodology of any air quality assessment is agreed in advance with officers from the Council's Environmental Protection Team. For more information, please contact 01782 717717 or e-mail environmental_health@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk.

Biomass Boilers

Biomass boilers introduce a new source of pollution into an area. We require an air quality assessment to be included in planning applications including biomass boilers. There are a number of smoke control areas in the borough. Installing a biomass boiler in a smoke control area without the relevant testing - and the necessary exemptions having been granted - means the operator runs the risk of prosecution under the Clean Air Act 1993. All biomass boilers in a smoke control area must be an "exempt appliance". We have powers under the Clean Air Act to request the measurement of dust emissions from the biomass boiler exhaust stack and require arrestment plant to be installed to control dust emissions. The Clean Air Act is mainly aimed at controlling smoke, grit and dust; this legislation does not mitigate fine particulate matter emissions.

The technical details of the biomass boiler, emission concentrations, stack height, fuel specification, fuel storage and delivery arrangements must be submitted to us for approval. The form below should be completed and included with your planning application. It will also provide the information we need for approving the boiler in accordance with the Clean Air Act 1993. Guidance on best practice measures to control emissions are outlined in the biomass boiler emission control note below.

Biomass boiler information request form (PDF 277kb)

Chimney height approvals

Under the Clean Air Act 1993, where a furnace is used without prior approval, or without complying with any conditions, it is an offence which carries a fine of up to £5,000.

The height of chimneys

Unless the height of the chimney has been approved and any conditions are followed, it is an offence to cause or knowingly allow a furnace to be used to:-

  • burn pulverised fuel
  • burn at a rate of 45.4kg or more an hour any other solid matter or
  • burn at a rate equivalent to 366.4 kW or more any liquid or gaseous matter

You need to have the height of your chimney approved by us if you propose installing equipment to burn certain fuel types or minimum volumes of matter.

You will need to submit details and calculations regarding the height of chimney(s) used to vent the emissions. Download application for approval by the council of the height of chimney (PDF 114kb). We must consider an application and give a written decision within 28 days of receipt, unless it is agreed in writing between us and the applicant that a longer period is allowed. If we fail to deal with the application within this period, then approval without qualification is given. It is requested that an appropriate chimney height is determined by appropriate dispersion modelling software

Further information about Air Quality Management Areas can be found HERE. In 2017, the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), published a UK plan for tackling roadside Nitrogen Dioxide concentrations, which can be found HERE


Last updated 12 August 2019

 
 
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