South Yorkshire

There is generally a low level of air pollution across South Yorkshire. The sources have changed over the last few decades. Once, people burning coal in their houses caused problems. Today, air quality tends to be worse in small areas such as busy roads through our towns and villages.

The pollutants that we focus on too have changed too. Nitrogen dioxide gas and fine inhalable particles are now the biggest threat. Sulphur dioxide gas and airborne lead emissions used to cause most concern, but have been successfully reduced due to the introduction of laws.

If an area does not meet air quality standards, then the local authority declares an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), and devises an Action Plan. The action plan contains measures to attempt to reduce air pollution to meet the standards.

Officers also check the air quality impact of new developments through the planning process, and suggest ways to make these impacts smaller. Suggestions could include using cleaner vehicles, moving housing further back from busy roads or using vehicles that run on fuels other than petrol.

It’s also important to get the message across to local people, who have the right to know whether the air they breathe is clean. Local people can play a huge role in reducing emissions themselves.

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