Air Quality

Local authorities have a duty to monitor 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 Regulations 2000 identify a level of pollutants for which there would be no, or extremely low risk to health. Environmental Health monitors against these objectives. Where exceedences 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 in pursuit of the objectives.

There are three 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 28 sites across the district, and also maintains two Air Quality Monitoring Stations, one currently located at College Road / A10 Cheshunt, and the other near the bus depot at Waltham Cross. Both continuously measure levels of Nitrogen Dioxide, PM10 and PM2.5 and Ozone.

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

The Council has a duty to review air quality within its district. The most recent can be found below.

Broxbourne Council participates in the Herts & Beds Air Pollution Monitoring Network* Together with AQDM and Envitech Europe, the Network maintains a website with comprehensive information on the quality of air in the region, from where you can access current pollution levels. Historic air quality reports can also be found on that website.

Broxbourne’s Updated Screening and Assessment report 2015 can be found to right side of page "documents" 

In 2003, three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) were declared in Broxbourne due to nitrogen dioxide concentrations being above the air quality standard set to be protective of human health. An Order formalising this decision was sent to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in 2003.

Since that time, two further Air Quality Management Areas have been identified, along with the need to extend one of the original areas.

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 Highways in developing an Action Plan to help improve air quality in these areas. Stakeholders and residents will be involved, and the plan will be linked to changes in government legislation and policies, science & technology and local and regional developments.

There will be a public consultation on the Action Plan in 2016, and reference to that process and the responses arising from it will be published on this website.

Air Quality Management Areas (B) - please see attached documents to left side of page

⎕ Link to Action Plan consultation documents (will appear here soon)

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) activities. These are regulated for emissions to land, air, water and other environmental considerations. Examples of A(1) activities are landfill sites and hazardous waste incinerators.

Part A(2) and B – Local Authority (Broxbourne Borough Council)

Local Authorities regulate A(2) activities, as well as the lesser polluting Part B activities, which are regulated for emissions to air only. Examples of Part B activities 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 Environmental Health.

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 having bonfires and do not burn domestic waste such as rubber and plastic