The aim of the air pollution team is to prevent and control air pollution and to deliver local air quality management.
The main areas the air pollution team look after include:
- Local Air Quality Management
- Monitoring air quality at a number of locations, using passive diffusion tubes
- Monitoring and carrying out enforcement duties within our smoke control areas
- Investigating complaints relating to statutory nuisance arising from the burning of materials and emissions of dark smoke from factories
- Regulation of emissions to air from installations designated for Council control under the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (NI) 2003
- Promoting air quality through educational and awareness raising initiatives
Smoke is the collection of airborne solid and liquid particulates and gases emitted when a material is burnt. The main source of smoke is household chimneys. When you burn ordinary household coal you cannot avoid creating smoke composed mainly of soot and tar.
In addition to creating dirt, blackening buildings, reducing visibility and damaging many materials, smoke adversely affects health. People living where the air is smoky are more likely to suffer from bronchitis and other chest complaints.
Since 1964 legislation has been in place enabling councils to declareSmoke Control Areas. Antrim declared a number of Smoke Control Areas in Antrim town in the 1970's. If you live within a Smoke Control Area it is illegal to burn unauthorised fuels such as household coal, slack, turf or wood. If you wish to light a fire you should ensure that you only burn an approved smokeless fuel.
Local Air Quality Management
The Environment (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 requires Councils to periodically review and assess local air quality with reference to specific harmful pollutants identified within the governments National Air Quality Strategy. This process, known as local air quality management, involves the assessment of existing and future levels of pollutants against national air quality objectives.
The pollutants specified within the National Air Quality Strategy for LAQM are:
- 1-3 butadiene
- Nitrogen dioxide
- Particulates (PM10)
- Sulphur dioxide
If a Council finds any places where the objectives are not likely to be achieved, it must declare it an Air Quality Management area (AQMA). It must then produce an air quality action plan detailing the actions that will be taken to reach the relevant air quality objective. Antrim Borough Council has been assessing the levels of the pollutants identified by the government since 2003. Our most recent Progress Report found that outside the AQMA the air quality objectives for all the prescribed pollutants were being met throughout the Borough.
Air Quality Monitoring
Nitrogen dioxide is also monitored at a number of roadside locations. Further information regarding air quality monitoring throughout Northern Ireland can be obtained by accessing the Northern Ireland Air Quality website.