Environmental Protection - Air Quality

Air Quality in Cornwall

Although air quality in Cornwall is generally very good there are certain 'hotspots' where standards fail to meet national air quality objectives. Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) have to be declared in areas where these Government standards are not being met. An Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) is prepared for these areas to target action to improve air quality.

We are measuring nitrogen dioxide at several locations around the county using ‘diffusion tubes’. These are small plastic tubes that sample nitrogen dioxide for one month before being sent to a laboratory for analysis.  The results give us a good idea of where pollution levels are highest.

At some locations we also have monitors that continually measure nitrogen dioxide or particulate matter. These are located in some of the most polluted locations to help us identify particular patterns or times of day when pollution is highest.

Reports on air quality in Cornwall, based upon our monitoring, are produced annually.

Further information on air quality in Cornwall is available via the links below and on the left of this page:

We can all take steps to improve air quality, even small changes contribute to making a difference if enough of us make a change. Some suggestions include:

  • Walk children to school instead of driving – did you know car drivers can be exposed to twice as much pollution as pedestrians?
  • Turn off your car engine if parked or stuck in traffic. It is better for the environment, fuel economy and health to switch off your engine and re-start it after a minute or longer, than it is to leave it running;
  • Seen a smoky bus or lorry?  You can report it to the DVLA.  Make a note of the registration number and where and when you saw it.
  • Travelling into Truro?  Use the Park and Ride service instead of driving into the city centre.

For more information on air quality and the levels of pollutants that should be in our air visit the Defra UK-AIR website.

For more information on air quality please contact the Environmental Protection Team by e-mail communityandenvironmentalprotection@cornwall.gov.uk or by calling 0300 1234 212