Surrey Health Borough Council’s Environmental Health team regularly monitor air quality across the borough, recording the number of pollutants in the air which may be hazardous to people and the ecosystem at high concentrations.
Pollutants mainly come from human activities such as road traffic, building heating, industry and burning fuel. Some come from natural sources such as wind-blown dust and decomposing organic matter.
There are various simple steps we can all take to improve air quality – including using the car less and cycle or walk for short trips.
Poor air quality has been identified as the largest environmental threat to public health in the UK. Among the pollutants, particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) have been identified as key air pollutants as they are major components of urban air pollution.
The M3 motorway is the Borough’s biggest polluter. The motorway and congested feeder roads that run through residential areas such as Camberley, Bagshot, Lightwater and Windlesham are the most obvious sources of pollution with peak time congestion causing vehicle engines to run inefficiently.
SHBC’s Environmental Health team monitor NO2 concentration from a network of 53 locations using diffusion tubes. The monitoring locations and monitoring data can be found in Surrey Heath’s Air Quality Annual Status Reports, available to download from our Air Quality webpage. In addition, Environmental Health team monitor the level of PM10 and NO2 / NO / NOx from an automated monitoring station off M3 in Camberley. Live monitoring data are available at here
Monitoring data collated in 2021 indicated that NO2 and PM10 levels across the Borough met statutory air quality objectives at places of relevant exposure and show improvements on the last three years. If you would like to know more about our air quality monitoring work, please contact: email@example.com
Cllr Colin Dougan, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Health said;
“The recent results from our recent monitoring data are very encouraging and positive for our borough, however air pollution still has an impact. It is often the most vulnerable people such as children, older people and those with heart and respiratory conditions who feel the effects most.”
We all have a part to play in improving air quality – here are some simple actions we can all consider to help improve air quality:
- Think about leaving the car at home – even for just one day per week, or consider car sharing
- Cycle to work or school
- Switch off your engine when you’re in stationary traffic or parked (and it’s safe to do so)
- Purchasing low-emission electric and/or hybrid vehicles, with government funding and grants available
- Upgrading boilers to newest and most efficient gas condensing boilers with lowest NOx (and carbon) emissions
- Reduce your exposure to air pollution by choosing quieter streets when walking or cycling
- If you own a wood burner always use smokeless fuels or well-seasoned wood, this is wood that has had a chance to dry out properly, so it burns efficiently and with less pollution. Watch this animation from the Surrey Air Alliance featuring advice on wood burning stoves (link is external)
- For further info on improving fuel efficiency and reduce impact, please see Defra’s Burn Better guidance(link is external).
- Visit the global action plan website for advice on how to keep air pollution in your home to a minimum