Pollution Control - Air Quality

What do we mean by Air Quality?

"Air Quality" is the term used to describe and classify the concentration of certain pollutants in the air. These pollutants have the potential to adversely affect human health at elevated concentrations. 

What are the Council’s Responsibilities?

Under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, local authorities are required to review and assess air quality within their areas. The primary objective of this exercise is to identify areas where air quality is unlikely to meet the objectives prescribed in the Air Quality Regulations (Wales) 2007 at locations which are situated outside of buildings or other natural or man-made structures, above or below ground, where members of the public are regularly present (relevant locations). The process of reviewing and assessing air quality represents a cornerstone in the system of local air quality management (LAQM). 

The National Air Quality Strategy (NAQS) and The Air Quality (Wales) Regulations 2007 set health-based Standards and Objectives for eight key pollutants. Measures contained in the NAQS are designed to cut emissions and improve air quality in coming years and, generally, enable achievement of the Objectives.

The Environmental Health Officer's within the Housing & Pollution Enforcement section are responsible for monitoring air quality within Torfaen.

What type of Air Quality Monitoring is undertaken in Torfaen?

The Council’s automatic air quality monitoring station is located in the grounds of Croesyceiliog Comprehensive School in the town of Cwmbran in the south of the County Borough. In June 2001, the automatic analysers at the ‘Cwmbran’ site became affiliated to the Automatic Urban Rural Network. As such all results from the station are ratified and contribute to the UK Air Pollution Monitoring Network. The site is classified as an ‘Urban Background’ Site (Grid Reference: ST 305 955) and is located adjacent to the playing fields of the school. The monitoring location therefore represents a site with relevant public exposure i.e. a location where members of the public are regularly present. Further details of the monitoring station in Cwmbran can be found on the Welsh Air Quality website.

The following pollutants are continuously monitored at the site:

  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Particulates (PM10)
  • Ozone

The Council also monitors Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels at 13 diffusion tube sites throughout the County Borough. Torfaen is one of approximately 300 local authorities that contribute to the UK Nitrogen Dioxide Survey. The survey is co-ordinated by AEA Technology, which is also responsible for quality control/assurance, interpretation and dissemination of data. There are three categories of site i.e. kerbside, intermediate and urban background. Torfaen Council contributes four tubes to the National Network, two of which are of the urban background type.

Annual Air Quality Progress Reports

To date the Council has published 11 Progress Reports on Air Quality for the years 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 , 2016, 2017 and 2018. Progress Reports have been introduced into the LAQM system following a detailed evaluation of the first round of local authority review and assessments and a need was identified to develop a longer-term vision for both LAQM and the review and assessment process.

The Reports conclude that measured air quality in Torfaen currently meets national standards. 

Copies of Torfaen's Air Quality Reports can be obtained below.

Useful Links

Further information is available from the following websites: 

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Public Health

Tel: 01633 647622

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