York's Air Quality Management Area
What is an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)?
All local authorities are required to assess air quality in their areas. An Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) must be declared if pollutant concentrations are likely to exceed health based standards in any outdoor location where members of the public are likely to be present. Where an AQMA is declared an air quality action plan (AQAP) must be drawn up detailing how the local authority intends to improve air quality.
Where is York's Air Quality Management Area?
City of York Council declared an AQMA on the 22 January 2002. The declaration was made due to elevated concentrations of nitrogen dioxide at five locations around the busy inner ring road. Nitrogen dioxide is a brown gas arising mainly from vehicle emissions.
The area included in the AQMA is shown below.
Map based on Ordnance Survey digital mapping with permission. © Crown Copyright reserved. City of York Council licence 1000 20818, April 2004.
The five red shaded areas are those where nitrogen dioxide concentrations need to be reduced. In these five areas properties are included within the AQMA boundary. Outside the five shaded areas only the roads shown in red form part of the AQMA.
How the boundary of the AQMA was determined
The AQMA map shows that the declared area extends beyond the five areas where nitrogen dioxide concentrations must be reduced. The wider area shows where residents and businesses stated they wanted to see air quality improved during consultation on the AQMA boundary.
Before the AQMA was declared a consultation leaflet was produced asking residents and businesses to choose one of three options for the AQMA boundary.
The options given to them were:
- Option A - Five separate AQMA's covering only the areas where the nitrogen dioxide objective may not be met.
- Option B - A single AQMA covering the five areas of possible breach and the busy roads that link them together.
- Option C - A larger single AQMA developed by York residents and businesses at consultation workshops.
64 per cent of residents and 49 per cent of businesses consulted opted for the largest air quality management area (Option C). Their preference also won the backing of councillors and York's Air Quality Management area was agreed by a meeting of the full council in January 2002.
The declaration of the AQMA required the council to prepare an Air Quality Action Plan and a Stage 4 Review and Assessment.