How we monitor
How the council monitors air quality
The council is required to monitor the air quality in the Vale, to report regularly to the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and to take action where nationally set levels are likely to be exceeded.
The council monitors levels of nitrogen dioxide throughout the district. Monitoring is also undertaken to assess levels of sulphur dioxide, ozone, benzene and airborne particles of less than 10 microns which are known as PM10. There are currently thirty monitoring tubes in locations in the district.
Monitoring is carried out at sites where traffic is heaviest and where there are residential properties nearby. Monitoring tubes are also placed at "background" sites for comparison purposes.
The tubes are about 5cm long and normally fixed to lamp posts, they are exposed for a month at a time and sent to the laboratory for analysis and reporting. The results give an indication of the level for the month and the annual results are reported on. Predictions can be made of the level of the pollutant for the future. The results are assessed against the National Air Quality Objectives - for more information about these objectives see the .
The council has to produce regular air quality progress reports in years when we do not have to undertake an updating and screening assessment of air quality. The draft progress report 2008 can be downloaded from the right of this page. It contains details of recent air quality monitoring across the whole of the Vale. The report has been sent to DEFRA and will be finalised following any comments that DEFRA may make.
Concentrations in the Vale do not exceed the national air quality objective levels except in the busy narrow streets of central Abingdon and near the A34 in Botley, due to levels of nitrogen dioxide from vehicle emissions. In view of this in 2006 the council declared an Air Quality Management Area in the centre of Abingdon to ensure air quality in this area was improved. For more information see our page on Air quality in Abingdon. The council has also undertaken a detailed assessment of air quality in Botley and has also declared an Air Quality Management Area in this area. For further details see our page on Air quality in Botley.
For more information about air quality
DEFRA manages the national Air Pollution Public Information Service. This service offers advice, information and up to date reporting of levels of pollutants, forecasts and alert messages when levels are high. This service is free and easy to use and allows you to check levels in your area. For more information about this service see this page of the .
Last reviewed: 26 - 09 - 2016