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Air Quality Assessments in Leeds

The current air quality of an area can affect individuals and the environment, just as certain development works can have the same impact. Planning projects in Leeds can benefit from our air quality assessments through our team addressing air quality data, sources of air pollution and necessary mitigation.

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Pollution of the Air Throughout the Leeds Area

Coming in as the fourth largest city in England by population, Leeds contains more than 800,000 people. It has seen an increase in development over recent times, growing the city to be more modern and open to a larger population and a higher number of potential job opportunities. Due to the previously rural nature of all of Yorkshire, Leeds retains an estimated 21.7% of green space, with an ongoing battle between developers and the local authority in regard to whether it would be wiser to keep it in favour of biodiversity value or build on it to further expand the collection of residential and business premises.

In 2023, a report found that out of 365 days in a year, only 269 were classed as days with ‘good air’. The results of the report left Leeds titled the country’s most polluted, with certain pollutants measured frequently as the primary causes of such concerning figures. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and sulfur dioxide (SO₂) from burning fossil fuels and operating vehicles were found as part of the cause, alongside the fine particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) that are also generated through operating vehicles, as well as carbon monoxide (CO) and other chemicals that arise from burning items domestically and the presence of naturally occurring sources such as airborne dust, pollen and sea salt.

Impact of Air Quality on Development Projects

Whenever a location experiences ongoing growth as Leeds has, the impact on the environment is likely to suffer as a side effect. With this in mind, developers are required to ensure that any and all suitable assessments have been conducted before any development works are carried out. By approaching a planning project with this level of forethought, it is possible to avoid potentially severe issues later in the process, bypass likely delays, and give local planning authorities no reason to deny planning applications.

From the selection of available surveys, a variety of different factors that could impact a development project are considered, such as inspections for animals, plants and trees on the development site. Likewise, the existing air quality of a location can infringe on the construction phase and future living or working conditions of inhabitants. It is also important to review the effect a planning project can have on an area’s air quality in Leeds, especially if heavy machinery produces dust, gasses or other harmful materials that could pose a threat to human health, particularly in terms of the potential health impacts on even a small number of sensitive groups with heart disease and other affected conditions.

If the processes involved in a land or property development could threaten UK air quality or if the local area is lacking in clean air, it would be wise to reach out to an expert for sufficient assistance with measuring and mitigating poor air quality. A multitude of air quality assessments are available to suit different needs, and by getting in touch with Arbtech, our team can create an understanding of your needs and guide you to a relevant course of action. Our guidance can then assist you in meeting the needs of the local council, addressing any problems regarding air quality, and securing applications for planning consent.

Forms of Air Quality Survey

Out of all surveys intended to analyse air pollution levels, the most common is known as a detailed air quality assessment, air quality impact assessment, air quality neutral assessment or air quality positive assessment. More often than not, such an inspection would be applicable in large developments or in any sized project situated within listed air quality management areas (AQMAs). In a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the affected area, predicted changes to current air quality as a result of the development are broken down through the use of dispersion modelling software.

Similarities are shared with an air quality statement but with the caveat of it leading to an environmental statement chapter rather than an air quality report. As for any pollutants that could appear within buildings and other infrastructure, an indoor air quality assessment would suffice, or if it is likely that the standard of air quality may alter during the planning process, air quality monitoring in real-time using DEFRA guidelines over a minimum of three months would be utilised instead. Air dispersion modelling software is used in air quality assessments, as well as in site suitability assessments to collect air quality data on road traffic emissions.

A less invasive survey known as a preliminary air quality constraints assessment may be conducted as a simple overview of poor air quality using existing records of relevant data sources such as the air quality index (AQI), and the impact of dust, odour and other pollutant emissions is also a valid concern, prompting various assessments on such materials appearing as a side effect of a development project. Whatever the applicable air quality survey, once it has been completed, an air quality report or statement chapter will be created, and through sharing it with the local planning authority, it should contain sufficient mitigation measures and management plans to support applications for planning permission.

Arrange Your Assessment with Arbtech

Your development plans may risk a chance of suffering air pollution exposure from the surroundings, or the construction works may produce harmful materials that could have negative environmental or health effects on the local area. Either way, our team can help with indoor or outdoor activities involving air pollution and the influence it has on the planning process. All of our air quality consultants have been tried and tested in running countless air quality assessments, and with knowledge of air quality in Leeds, we can ensure that any developments in Leeds Centre and beyond are dealt with by someone with an advanced understanding of the area and the specific stipulations of Leeds City Council.

Acquire the insights you need on air quality in Leeds and specifically on your development site to inform the next steps of your project by reaching out to Arbtech and speaking to our team. At this point, we can talk you through your options, find the one that best suits your needs, and send across a free quote for you to look over. In a planned survey of your site, an air quality consultant will consider air quality data, air pollution, the air quality index (AQI), current air quality and the potential health effects on sensitive groups in real-time before formulating a report or statement to help your planning application.

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