The government sets health-based air quality 'objectives' relating to common pollutants found in cities, these are levels we must aim to meet.
The Environment Act 1995 requires us to monitor air quality in our area and declare Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) where the objectives are unlikely to be met. The more recent Environment Act 2021, requires government to review the air quality objectives, taking into account strengthened World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for outdoor air pollution.
Our Air Quality Action Plan sets out the measures being taken to improve air quality across York and who is responsible for delivering them.
Air quality in York
Through monitoring of air quality across the city, we have previously identified some areas of the city centre, where levels of pollution are above health based objective levels. These areas have been incorporated into an AQMA.
Current air quality levels across the city can be viewed on Air Quality England.
There has been a general downward trend in pollution monitored across the AQMA over the last 10 years. The reductions are related to improvements in traffic emissions generally and measures introduced through our previous Air Quality Action Plans, Local Transport Plans and sustainable travel programmes.
There still a few areas within the existing AQMA where levels of pollution are elevated. We are committed to improving air quality further and lowering emissions across the entire city through delivery of measures in our Air Quality Action Plan.