Air Quality FAQ

We hope the following frequently asked questions will answer any queries that you have about air quality.

Are there any other Air Quality Management Area's (AQMAs) in the UK?

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Yes, there are more than 500 AQMAs in the UK. There are currently nine in Cornwall:

  • Redruth, Camborne and Pool;
  • Bodmin;
  • Tideford;
  • Gunnislake;
  • St Austell; 
  • Truro; 
  • Camelford;
  • Grampound; and
  • Launceston

There is no evidence that being in an AQMA affects property values. The AQMA is a positive step, as it means action is being taken to improve air quality.

If your health is good, you are unlikely to have any serious short-term effects. However, people with lung diseases or heart conditions are more likely to be affected.

You can find out more from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) pages on air quality and public health.

Under The Environment Act 1995 all Councils must monitor air quality in their area against national objectives.

The council has to declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) – an area where action is needed to manage air pollution.

Councils have to take steps to improve air quality in an AQMA. We aim to produce an action plan within 18 months of the AQMA being declared. We will also monitor the effectiveness of the measures we take to improve the air quality in the AQMA.

There are several pollutants of concern:

  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)            
  • PM10 Particulates
  • Benzene
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)     
  • 1,3 Butadiene        
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Lead

The most common kind of air pollution that councils monitor is nitrogen dioxide, followed by particulate matter.  There is little need to monitor other pollutants as levels are usually very low. 

We are mainly monitoring nitrogen dioxide.  There are currently around 130 monitoring sites in towns and villages across Cornwall.

Particulate matter is monitored in Saltash and Camborne.

The biggest source of nitrogen dioxide is the exhaust from cars and lorries.

Exhaust emissions from traffic in the UK are generally falling and should continue to fall as newer vehicles with tighter emission standards replace older vehicles that pollute more.  However as more people buy diesel vehicles levels of pollution are not falling as quickly as had been predicted.

We mostly monitor alongside busy roads or on narrow congested streets where air pollution is likely to be worse.  We also monitor at several ‘background’ locations for example within housing estates away from busy roads or in rural areas.

If you have any further questions about air quality or would like more information, please email us on communityandenvironmentalprotection@cornwall.gov.uk; telephone us on 0300 1234 212 or write to us at Camborne One Stop Shop, Dolcoath Avenue, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 8SX