National Progress - Air Quality Hub

National Progress

The state of air quality in the UK has been affected by a range of factors, with the origins of poor air quality traced mainly back to industrial scale combustion and the ever more widespread use of motor vehicles.

As progress has been made to tackle some of the biggest individual sources of pollution, an increased focus also highlights the contribution of more minor sources of emissions such as smaller industrial sites, individual choices of products and utilities, as well as agricultural fertilisers and home fuel choices.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ most recent report on Air Pollution in the UK (2018) found that the UK had met a number of its targets with regard to improving air quality, however a number were not met. For example, only 7 of the 43 zones monitored were compliant with the limit value for annual mean NO2, although in 25 of the remaining zones the amount by which this limit was exceeded had decreased compared to the previous year.

Furthermore, although all 43 zones met their targets for ozone with 5 meeting the long term objectives for the protection of vegetation, none were compliant with long-term ozone objectives for the protection of human health.

Overall, the causes and impacts of pollution and emissions are becoming better understood across the UK, which is leading to innovations and changes that are set to greatly improve air quality, as well as people’s health.

Members of the public can check the air quality status of their area on the UK Government’s resource “UK Air”, via the link on this page.