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Air quality assessments in planning applications

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Air quality assessments in planning applications

Air quality assessment (AQA)

You will need to send an air quality assessment with your planning application for the following: 

  • all major development;
  • development involving biomass boilers, biomass or gas CHP (including connections to existing networks where the increased capacity is not already covered in an existing AQA);
  • substantial earthworks or demolition;
  • any development that could have a significant impact on air quality, either directly or indirectly.

What information should be included in an air quality assessment?

The information that should be included in an air quality assessment will differ depending on whether a basic or detailed air quality statement is required. The AQA needs to consider measures to reduce any impact to acceptable levels. This should be proportionate to the scale and type of development.

  • All Air Quality Assessments must be carried out in line with the GLA policy The Control of Dust and Emissions During Demolition and Construction 2014 (SPG) 
  • all sites with a high or medium dust impact risk level will require real-time dust (PM10) monitoring with MCERTS ‘Indicative’ monitoring equipment; 
  • all sites requiring real-time dust monitoring must complete a three-month baseline monitoring period before any onsite construction/ demolition works may begin. 

Basic air quality assessment

This should include:

  • a review of air quality around the development site using existing air quality monitoring and/or modelling data
  • an assessment of the impact on air quality during the construction phase. It should also include detailed mitigation methods for controlling dust and pollution emissions associated with plant and vehicles
  • an indication of the number of receptors which will be exposed to poor air quality as a result of the development. You should show their location on a map. The significance of air pollution exposure should be quantified in accordance with the “Air Quality Impact Significance Criteria – New Exposure". This is outlined in the NSCA Guidance Note
  • an outline and justification of mitigation measures associated with the design, location and operation of the development in order to reduce air pollution and exposure to poor air quality. Where a proposed development is in an area of poor air quality it is essential to demonstrate that, from the earliest stages, the building has been designed to reduce occupant exposure. This includes consideration of orientation, elevation of residences, and the use of green infrastructure such as green walls, screens and trees.

Detailed air quality assessment

This should include:

  • air quality dispersion modelling data carried out in accordance with the London Councils Air Quality and Planning Guidance (PDF)
  • an indication of the number of receptors which will be exposed to poor air quality as a result of the development. You should show their location on a map. The significance of air pollution exposure should be quantified in accordance with the “Air Quality Impact Significance Criteria – New Exposure”. This is outlined in the NSCA Guidance Note
  • an outline and justification of mitigation measures associated with the design, location and operation of the development in order to reduce air pollution and exposure to poor air quality. Where a proposed development is in an area of poor air quality it is essential to demonstrate that from the earliest stages, the building has been designed to reduce occupant exposure. This includes consideration of orientation, elevation of residences, and the use of green infrastructure such as green walls, screens and trees

You will also need to complete the air quality proforma with all applications which require an Air Quality Assessment

How do I submit an air quality assessment?

If you apply for planning permission online using the Planning Portal, you will be given the opportunity to upload your air quality assessment. This is after you have completed the relevant application forms.

Before uploading any files, please read our guidance notes for submitting electronic files with planning applications (PDF).

If you choose to submit a paper-based application instead, you will need to provide:

  • four copies of your air quality assessment
  • four copies of the relevant application forms.

Additional documents - Checklist and Manual B

To help ensure that air quality has been properly considered, the following apply to your scheme.

Checklist: All major developments that are subject to an Air Quality Assessment. It is a requirement that the below checklist is completed and returned with your Air Quality Assessment. You can obtain a Word version from your Planning Officer.
Air Quality Planning Checklist (PDF, 207KB)

Manual B: All developments that are subject to an Air Quality Assessment should review and follow the advice in the Council’s ‘Manual B - Reducing Air Pollution In New Developments’.
Manual B - Reducing Air Pollution In New Developments

Where can I find out further information?

For further information on preparing and submitting an air quality assessment, please make a general enquiry or get bespoke pre-application advice