Portsmouth city council

Portsmouth City Council, like all local authorities in the UK, is required to review and assess air quality according to the schedule set in the  National Air Quality Strategy  - the assessments form part of the  Local Air Quality Management  guidance which works towards achieving National Air Quality objectives.

In order to meet statutory obligations, the Council performs a periodic review and assessment of ambient Portsmouth air according to  DEFRA's guidance , which combines monitoring with dispersion modelling at air pollution hotspots. We also have a network of four monitoring stations in the city which provide us with real-time air quality information - visit the  PORTAIR  page for more information.

In Portsmouth the pollutants which may have an impact on human health are principally the products of combustion from traffic - mainly nitrogen dioxide. There are currently five Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) predicted to exceed the annual nitrogen dioxide National Air Quality Objective (NAQO) - their locations are represented in red on the map below.

Air pollution queries

Please contact us with any air pollution-related queries or comments by email at  airquality@portsmouthcc.gov.uk  or alternatively, phone City Help Desk on 023 9283 4167 .

Air pollution impact on health and environment

Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) guidance was introduced because of the detrimental effect of air pollution on both human health and ecosystems.

The quality of the air we breathe has a great impact on our respiratory health. Lung tissue is easily damaged by pollutants in the air, which can result in increased risk of triggering the onset of attacks of asthma, chronic bronchitis and other respiratory diseases including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Furthermore, long term exposure to air pollution can lead to premature ageing of the lungs, reduced lung function and shortened life expectancy.

Population groups particularly vulnerable to air pollution exposure are:

  • inherently more sensitive to air pollutants (individuals with a genetic predisposition or unborn/very young children)
  • more sensitive because of old age, specific diseases (lung disease, asthma, heart problems and COPD), or environmental/socio-economical factors
  • exposed to excessive levels of air pollutants

General air pollution can result in one or a combination of effects on human health, including:

  • Chest pain and tightness
  • coughing and wheezing
  • dry throat
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • impairment of lung function
  • irritation of mucous membranes
  • nausea
  • pain during deep breaths
  • shortness of breath.

For example, excessive ground level ozone and particulate matter do not cause, but can aggravate conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

In March 2010, a cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) appointed by the House of Commons published the  Air Quality document , which reported:

  • Air pollution on UK streets is contributing to tens of thousands of early deaths each year and the Government is not doing enough to tackle the problem.
  • Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the EAC said: "Air pollution probably causes more deaths than passive smoking, traffic accidents or obesity, yet it receives very little attention from Government or the media. In the worst affected areas this invisible killer could be taking years off the lives of people most at risk, such as those with asthma."

Air pollution also has a wide-ranging environmental impact, including loss of biodiversity, reduced crop yields and contribution to climate change. Excess emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) lead to excessive plant growth and decay that disturbs the biodiversity of land and water-based ecosystems.

No vehicle idling

Motorists can immediately reduce their unnecessary air pollution foot print by turning their engine off when stationary. It is common for some motorists to leave their engine on when they stop to:

Drop their children off or wait to pick them up schools, talk with a friend, talk on the phone, drive through a restaurant, warm up the car, run quick errands, wait to board a ferry

We have identified the need to campaign against idling engines in the Air Quality Action Plan in a bid to reduce unnecessary road traffic-related air pollution.

By adopting and enforcing regulations provided under the Road Vehicles Construction and Use Act and the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 we aim to help improve local air quality.

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