Air quality assessment

We adopted revised local area requirements in July 2018 and are currently in the process of updating this guidance page.

Where your proposed development is in an area of poor air quality and/or will have a significant impact on air quality of the surrounding area (either directly or indirectly), an air quality assessment will need to accompany your planning application. The information below provides further details about when an air quality assessment is required, what information this document should include, how to submit it to us and where further information can be found.

When is an air quality assessment required?

A basic air quality assessment should accompany applications for:

  • developments where local residents will be exposed to poor air quality (due its location next to a busy road/diesel railway lines or in a generally congested area)

A detailed air quality assessment should accompany applications for:

  • commercial developments with a floor space of more than 1000m2
  • developments that have the potential to significantly change road traffic on a busy road (that is, a road that handles more than 10,000 vehicles per day)
  • significant changes include:
    • any increase in traffic volumes (either annual average daily traffic or peak)
    • any increase to the average vehicle speed
    • any increase in traffic congestion
    • any increase in the percentage of heavy goods vehicles
    • developments that will introduce or increase car parking facilities by 300 spaces or more
    • developments that bring sensitive receptors into an area of poor air quality
    • developments that include biomass boilers and/or combined heat and power
    • residential development with more than 75 homes

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.

Basic air quality assessment - A basic air quality statement 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 and 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, and 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 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 - A detailed air quality statement should include:

  • air quality dispersion modelling data carried out in accordance with the London Councils Air Quality and Planning Guidance
  • an indication of the number of receptors which will be exposed to poor air quality as a result of the development, and 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” 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

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 after you have completed the relevant application forms.

Before uploading any files, please read our guidance notes:

If you choose to submit a paper-based application instead, you will need to provide four copies of your air quality assessment along with 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.
download: 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’.
download: 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