Air quality information for developers
Air quality - Protecting our environment through the planning process
The health and wellbeing of the population
The environment can impact negatively on the health and wellbeing of the population and of all the environmental factors, air pollution has the greatest impact. Current evidence indicates that air pollution is associated with cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, respiratory disease, asthma and stroke. Air pollution disproportionately affects the young, older people, those with underlying cardiopulmonary conditions and the most deprived within our communities. Poor air quality can also cause damage to buildings and the local ecology. Smoke and dust emission also impact on local amenity.
Implications for public health
The quality of the air breathed in local areas has implications for public health. Public Health England attribute approximately 400 deaths each year in the East Midlands to poor air quality. Nationally, poor air quality is estimated to cause 29,000 premature deaths per year – greater than road traffic accidents and smoking combined – and the economic impact due to poor health is also estimated to cost between £8bn and £20bn each year, those with asthma, lung diseases and heart conditions being most susceptible. Poor air quality also causes damage to buildings and local ecology. Smoke and dust emissions also damage local physical amenity.
Air quality is a high priority
Air quality is a high priority nationally. The issue is geographically spread, though concentrated in urban and industrial areas and around roads. The impact on human health is significant and although local authorities are important delivery agents, and improvements in local air quality can only be achieved with input from key stakeholders, developers, businesses and residents.
The East Midlands Air Quality Network (EMAQN)
The East Midlands Air Quality Network (EMAQN) is a group of environmental health, public health, planning and transport professionals who aim to improve air quality across the East Midlands by sharing knowledge and best practice.
Chesterfield Borough Council is part of the EMAQN and has jointly prepared this technical planning guidance and has been developed to supplement the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The East Midland Network (Chesterfield) Air Quality Technical Guidance document has been developed in partnership with the Council’s Environmental Health and Planning teams and is intended to support ongoing joint working on all matters of air quality through the planning process.
The role of planners and developers
The planning process has a significant role to play in ensuring positive health and wellbeing, ensure that new development is sustainably located (to limit traffic growth and encourage active travel) and constructed, including securing measures to mitigate impact on air quality through planning permissions.
Developers applying for planning consent should review this document and have regard to its content, particularly with regard to the likely air quality impact of developments, which have been categorised using the DfT Threshold Criteria for Transport Assessments in addition to DEFRA’s Local Air Quality Management Technical Guidance (TG16) dated February 2018 .
Please note: this is not limited to developments leading to a significant change in road traffic flows or other transport sources, but also includes any development that may affect air quality, with relevant exposure nearby, such as:
- industrial installations such as energy from waste
- biomass boilers
- Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant
- landfill sites, quarries, etc
Useful links for developers: