Pollution control - air quality

The council monitors air quality within Bracknell Forest. The principal source of pollution in Bracknell Forest is exhaust emissions from road traffic.

The borough has a statutory duty under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to periodically review and assess the air quality within its area. This is part of the government’s National Air Quality Strategy. National air quality objectives have been designated for:

  • nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
  • particulates
  • carbon monoxide
  • benzene
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • sulphur dioxide
  • lead
  • ozone

In Bracknell Forest all the national air quality objectives are being met except for nitrogen dioxide at two busy locations.

Current status of air quality in Bracknell

Following a detailed assessment of air quality, we have declared two air quality management areas (AQMAs) within our area for nitrogen dioxide. An AQMA is an area where air pollution is above the national air quality standards.

The locations where the levels have been exceeded are concentrated in areas where traffic levels are high. This is neither unexpected, nor different from the problems experienced by many other towns in the UK, particularly in the south east region. Over 60 per cent of local authorities have declared AQMAs, the vast majority due to nitrogen dioxide levels. All of the borough’s neighbouring authorities have declared AQMAs.

AQMAs in Bracknell Forest

How we monitor pollution

Air pollution is being measured in and around Bracknell Forest using diffusion tubes. This is a type of non-automatic monitoring where samples are exposed over a period of days or weeks before being collected and analysed.

There are two air pollution stations installed in the borough. They are automatic monitoring stations, which mean that measurements are made continuously. The data is sent through the telephone line to us at regular intervals. This is an ongoing process and we are required to produce an annual progress report. Every three years an updating, screening and assessment report (USA) is also required to be reviewed. A USA report or a progress report may require a detailed assessment report.

We report the results of our air quality monitoring to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Defra - latest measurement summaries

Reports and assessments

The reports and assessments are listed below:

For more information about air pollution please go to the Defra website.

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