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Air Quality in West Dorset

Information concerning air quality in West Dorset including the latest monitoring results, air quality reports and details of the Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).

Air quality objectives

Air quality objectives have been set by the Government for the protection of health, councils must check air quality against these objectives once every three years. Where objectives are unlikely to be met, councils must designate Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and draw up action plans to reach the objectives which have been set for the following air pollutants: Benzene, 1,3 butadiene, fine particles (PM10), carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and lead.

Current levels of air quality in West Dorset

The latest  Annual Status Report 2016 (pdf, 5Mb) (opens in a new window) shows that air quality across the district is generally good, however, there are two areas in Bridport and Chideock where the annual mean objective for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is exceeded.  This is due to road traffic emissions.  

The report identifies that two air quality management areas (AQMAs) have already been declared, in Chideock along the A35 and Dorchester along High East Street, and action plans have been produced to improve the air quality here. In Chideock monitoring has shown that the only areas with exceedances are on the south side of the A35 going out of the village towards Lyme Regis.  East Road, Bridport has also shown exceeded levels of NO2, however, at present there is no intention to declare an AQMA, although this will be reviewed following consultation.

Monitoring air quality

View a summary of West Dorset District Council's monitoring results (pdf, 265kb) (opens in a new window) from our Nitrogen Dioxide Diffusion Tube Survey. We operated one high resolution continuous analyser (from 2009 to 2016) and a low resolution diffusion tube survey (since 1996), encompassing approximately 25 monitoring locations.

Monitoring sites are generally indicative of where the public might be exposed over the averaging period of the objective. In the case of the annual objective for nitrogen dioxide, at the facades of houses facing the road. In the past we have monitored nitrogen dioxide in some towns and villages across the district.

However, following a review of our monitoring locations in December 2009 we now only monitor nitrogen dioxide in Dorchester, Chideock and Bridport. Note that the annual mean objective concentration for nitrogen dioxide is 40µg/m3.

View a summary of monitoring results from our diffusion tube survey in Bridport. (pdf, 341kb) (opens in a new window)

Previous Air Quality reports

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