Air Quality

Local authorities have a duty to review the air quality in their district under the Environment Act 1995, as poor air quality has the potential to adversely affect public health. The Council is required under this law to carry out regular reviews and assessments of air quality in Broxbourne against standards and objectives set out by the National Air Quality Strategy.

The Air Quality (England) Regulations 2015 sets Air quality objective levels for three main pollutants including nitrogen dioxide, PM10 and sulphur dioxide. Environmental Health currently monitors against the nitrogen dioxide objectives. Where exceedances are considered likely, the local authority must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and prepare an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) setting out the measures it intends to put in place to facilitate compliance with these objectives.

There are currently Seven Air Quality Management Areas in the Borough of Broxbourne.

The main source of air pollution in Broxbourne is traffic. The Council monitors nitrogen dioxide at 38 locations across the district, via diffusion tubes. 

Effects of air pollution

Generally if you are in a good state of health, moderate air pollution levels are unlikely to have any serious short term effects. However, elevated levels and/or long term exposure to air pollution can lead to more serious symptoms and conditions affecting human health. This mainly affects the respiratory and inflammatory systems, but can also lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease and cancer. People with lung or heart conditions may be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution.

Air Quality Reports

In fulfilling its duty the Council also produces an annual report which provides an overview of air quality in the Borough of Broxbourne, during the previous calendar year. 

Broxbourne’s 2018 Air Quality Annual Status Report (ASR) can be found to right side of page in "documents".

Broxbourne Council participates in the Herts and Beds Air Quality Forum.  The Forum maintains a website with comprehensive information on the quality of air in the region, from where you can access current pollution levels.

In 2004, three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) were declared in Broxbourne due to likely breaches of the nitrogen dioxide and particulates (PM10) objectives within AQMA 1 and likely breaches of the nitrogen dioxide objectives within AQMA 2 and AQMA 3. A copy of the Orders formalising these decisions were sent to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in 2004.

Since that time, a further four AQMAs have been identified with respect to likely breaches of the nitrogen dioxide objectives, along with the need to extend AQMA 1. Maps of AQMAs 1-7 can be found to right side of page "documents".  

It must be emphasised, that despite this, there is no immediate public health concern for residents in these areas.

The Council will work with colleagues in Hertfordshire County Council Highways and Highways England in developing a single Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) to help improve air quality in these areas and the plan will be linked to changes in government legislation and policies, science & technology and local and regional developments.

The Council commissioned Bureau Veritas in March 2017 to assist in the development of it’s single AQAP, for all of the Borough’s AQMAs, with the exception of AQMA 2, Teresa Gardens, Waltham Cross and AQMA 3, Jones Road, Goffs Oak, which the Council intends to revoke due to sustained compliance with the National Air Quality Objectives. 

Copies of the Revocation Orders will be uploaded to this webpage, when the process is complete.

The Borough of Broxbourne recently held an Air Quality Steering Group meeting, which included relevant stakeholders from within the Council in addition to those from Hertfordshire County Council and Bureau Veritas. The meeting provided an opportunity to provide an update on Air quality compliance, including a summary of the recent Ministerial Direction to carry out a Targeted Feasibility Study along a portion of the A10 in Cheshunt and it’s subsequent findings. The meeting also provided the opportunity to discuss new and emerging strategies which may compliment the AQAP’s development.   

Targeted Feasibility Study

The Council was initially issued with a Ministerial Direction on 22 March 2018 regarding the air quality (nitrogen dioxide) on a section of the A10 in Cheshunt. A map of the area can be found to the right side of page "documents".  This required that Broxbourne Council, as well as all other Local Authorities with areas of exceedance of the Ambient Air Quality Directive, to carry out further work to consider actions that could bring forward compliance dates. The Council conducted a Targeted Feasibility Study (TFS) which indicated that the exceedance levels were more persistent than originally thought and the A10 was not projected to be compliant with legal limits until 2028 rather than 2019 as previously thought.
 
After an evaluation of several softer measures within the TFS, it was determined that more extensive measures were required to significantly bring forward compliance. It was determined that the implementation of a Charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is therefore the most viable measure to ensure compliance is achieved in a reasonable timeframe. Preliminary assessment has found that implementing a Class C CAZ (Buses, coaches, taxis, HGVs and LGVs) may bring forward compliance to 2026, whilst a Class D CAZ (Buses, coaches taxis, HGVs, LGVs and cars) may bring compliance further forwards to 2023.
 
A further Direction was issued on 5 October 2018 requiring the Council to deliver a plan to identify how to bring forward compliance with legal limits ahead of the projected date. An initial plan needs to be submitted by 31 January 2019 and a final plan by 31 October 2019. Broxbourne Council acknowledges the direction, and although is not the highways authority, will work alongside relevant partners, including Hertfordshire County Council, to develop a plan and submit before the deadline in 2019.
 

Regulation of Industrial Processes

Certain industrial activities, which have the potential to cause pollution risks to human health and the environment, are regulated to ensure that there are proper controls. The Environmental Permitting (EP) legislation prohibits activities unless a permit has been obtained from the appropriate regulator, either the Environment Agency or the Local Authority. A permit allows an activity to be carried out with certain conditions and gives clear instructions on how the environment must be protected. Permits cover water, land and air pollution, radioactive contamination and other environmental hazards. The standards of protection take account of the nature of the hazard, the cost and the risks to the environment and human health.
 
The activities controlled by the EP regime are divided into three categories and are regulated by two different bodies:
 
Part A(1) – Environment Agency
The Environment Agency regulates what is considered to be the most polluting of the three industrial categories, A(1) installations. These are regulated for emissions to land, air, water and other environmental considerations. Examples of A(1) installations are landfill sites and hazardous waste incinerators.
 
Part A(2) and B – Local Authority (Broxbourne Borough Council)
Local Authorities regulate A(2) installations, as well as the lesser polluting Part B installations, which are regulated for emissions to air only. Examples of Part B installations include petrol stations, dry cleaners and vehicle re-sprayers. The charging scheme, which is set by Government and regularly reviewed, follows the ‘polluter pays’ principle by linking the charge to the regulatory effort required to monitor the installation. It aims to reward businesses that seek to minimise the likelihood of causing pollution issues by reducing the annual subsistence charge.
 
The Council carries out regular inspections on permitted installations to ensure it is being operated within the terms of the permit. If you wish to make a complaint about an industrial business please contact the Environmental Health team.
 

What residents can do to help

Residents can take simple measures to reduce air pollution and improve their quality of life:
Avoid using cars for short journeys - why not walk or cycle instead
Avoid Idling when parked or stationary for more than 30 seconds
Consider switching to Electric Vehicles (EV) for longer journeys
Avoid having bonfires and do not burn domestic waste such as rubber and plastic.