Boroughs should consider urgently declaring new Air Quality Management Areas

Download PDF Posted on by

Clean Air in London considers Brent, Bromley, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Newham and Sutton should consider urgently declaring Air Quality Management Areas or extending existing ones

The Greater London Authority (GLA) has released details of Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in London after a request from Clean Air in London (CAL) under the Environmental Information Regulations.  In an email dated 30 October the GLA said:

Please see attached maps which show the modelling undertaken for the Mayor’s Air Quality Strategy for 2011 for both PM10 [dangerous airborne particles] and NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] overlaid with the relevant Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) (in grey).  The majority of London is covered by AQMAs for both pollutants.

“For NO2, parts of Brent, Bromley, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Newham and Sutton are not covered by an AQMA.  For Lewisham, Newham and Sutton the GLA has identified “air quality focus areas” which are not covered by an AQMA.  These are shown in the borough-specific maps attached.  This does not necessarily mean than an AQMA needs to be declared for these areas, and this remains a decision for the relevant local authority based on their own assessments.  However, it does indicate locations where high concentrations are combined with relevant human exposure.

“The Mayor will be working closely with all boroughs to take further action to address local emissions and reduce exposure.  [The GLA has] attached the methodology for how the “air quality focus areas” have been selected.”

Simon Birkett, Founder and Director of Clean Air in London (CAL), said:

“For the first time, we can see clearly that vast swathes of London are not covered by Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA).

“This matters because key public health and legal protections, for example under the Mayor’s London Plan, arise only after an area has been declared an AQMA.

“All boroughs should declare an AQMA where monitoring or computer modelling shows legal limits for nitrogen dioxide or dangerous airborne particles are not likely to be achieved.

“In Clean Air in London’s view, the Mayor’s analysis shows Brent, Bromley, Hillingdon, Lewisham, Newham and Sutton should consider urgently declaring new AQMAs or extending existing ones.”


1.  The process of Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) is defined through the Environment Act 1995, regulations, the Secretary of State’s guidance notes and informal guidance documents.  In its simplest form, LAQM is an obligation placed on all first tier local authorities in the UK (borough, district and unitary authorities, but not county councils) to review the air quality in their areas, and assess whether there are likely exceedances of the UK Air Quality Objectives at the relevant date i.e. January 2005 for dangerous airborne particles (PM10) and January 2010 for nitrogen dioxide (NO2).  Where exceedance is thought likely, the authority is required to declare an air quality management area (AQMA), covering at least the area of exceedance.  The precise size and shape of an AQMA is open to interpretation.  AQMA declaration triggers the production of an Air Quality Action Plan, for which guidance has been produced by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and the Devolved Administrations.  See also:

2.  Air Quality Action Plans for AQMAs are available on the Defra website at:

CAL 215 GLA EIR 301012 Process chart describing how FAs have been determined

CAL 155 London Plan_Policy 7.14_pages 229 to 231_V2