Air Quality Action Plan

The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is a very special place. Even so, there are some improvements we need to make, including better air quality. It will be no surprise to you that most of the air pollution in the Borough comes from road traffic.

The ‘hot spot stars’ in Appendix 2 Air Quality Action Plan Map(pdf, 127KB) shows the areas that most require our action. This was true in 2000 and sadly is still true in 2013. Technical improvements in vehicles on the road alongside improved Euro standards have helped reduce emissions. Unfortunately the increased volume of traffic has negated these improvements, so that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions have reached a plateau and are proving exceedingly difficult to decrease.

Further improvements in vehicle technology, changes in fuel type and a reduction in the number of vehicles are the main ways that emissions will decrease and air quality will improve. Europe may impose fines on the UK if it fails to comply with EU limits which may help drive change.

The Mayor of London is tightening the standards for all vehicles especially older polluting heavy goods vehicles and taxis. He is also upgrading and renewing the London bus fleet, and is trying to reduce the time that vehicles spend idling. All these measures will help improve air quality.

Council plans

The 2015 Update and Screening Assessment is listed below. We are currently updating the Annual Status Report and the Air Quality Action Plan for 2016.

Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)

As the most recent borough-wide monitoring (2013) shows, NO2 continued to exceed the standard. Also a 2013 modelling exercise showed the exceedance is likely to continue past 2015. This means that the AQMA designation is still required.

Background to AQMA

On 31 December 2000, following a review and assessment of air quality, we declared the whole Borough as a single Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)(pdf, 200KB) for NO2 and PM10. This decision was taken because some areas were predicted to exceed the annual average NO2 and PM10 air quality objectives. We were legally obliged to write an 'air quality action plan'.

Updated: 21 June 2017