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Air pollution

We have a duty to review and assess air quality in New Forest, in accordance with Government guidance. There are many sources of pollutants in the area, including industry, vehicles, bonfires and woodburners, all that can cause harm to human health.

Find out more about air pollution on the DEFRA website.

On this page:

Monitoring air pollution in the New Forest

The Environment Act 1995 places a duty on local authorities to review the air quality in their area.

Local air quality is assessed at locations of relevant exposure such as residential properties, schools and care homes. The data is reviewed against national Air Quality Objectives. 

We carry out assessments for the following pollutants in accordance with the National Air Quality Strategy:

  • particulates (PM10)
  • sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

The pollutants of interest in New Forest are mainly sourced from vehicles and industry. Much of the shoreline on Southampton Water is influenced by industrial development, with the landscape being dominated by one of the largest petrochemical complexes in Europe.

Various monitoring techniques are used including real time monitoring and diffusion tubes, which give pollutant concentrations over an averaging period.

We routinely publish data on air pollution levels in map format via the Air Quality England website. You can view the latest data using the link below.

For historical information on air pollution levels, view the air quality bulletin for New Forest.

Air Quality Management Areas

Government guidance states that if Air Quality Objectives are not being met, or are unlikely to be met, the local authority must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). It should then work to improve local air quality in pursuit of the objectives.

We currently have one declared AQMA in Lyndhurst. This area exceeds the annual mean objective for nitrogen dioxide.

Information on the Lyndhurst AQMA can be downloaded below.

Air Quality Management Order - Lyndhurst (PDF) [50KB] (opens new window)

Map of Lyndhurst AQMA (PDF) [131KB] (opens new window)

Lyndhurst Action Plan 2008 (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)

Lyndhurst Action Plan Update 2019 (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)

Air quality reports

We have a duty to produce an annual local air quality report for DEFRA and to make them available to the public. Reports for each year since 2018 can be found below.

Summary reports

Air Quality Annual Status Report Summary 2022 (PDF) [294KB]

Air Quality Annual Status Report Summary 2021 (PDF) [356KB]

Air Quality Annual Status Report Summary 2020 (PDF) [442KB]

Air Quality Annual Status Report Summary 2019 (PDF) [863KB] (opens new window)

Full reports

Air Quality Annual Status Report 2022 (PDF) [2MB]

Air Quality Annual Status Report 2021 (PDF) [3MB]

Air Quality Annual Status Report 2020 (PDF) [3MB] (opens new window)

Air Quality Annual Status Report 2019 (PDF) [3MB] (opens new window)

Air Quality Annual Status Report 2018 (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)

Smoke control areas

The Clean Air Act 1993 introduced a wide range of new regulations, such as those which control smoke emissions.

There are no smoke control areas within New Forest. However, care should be taken when choosing a fuel to avoid causing smoke problems to your neighbours.

It is recommended that wood burning stoves (or any appliances burning solid fuel) do not have a cap or cowl on the discharge end of the flue that impedes the upward vertical flow of emissions from the flue. This causes the smoke to flow back down to the ground (down-wash) and increases the likelihood of causing annoyance to your neighbours.

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