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Air Quality Assessment for Planning and Development

Air quality is a critical factor in our environment, impacting both human health and the natural world. It’s a complex issue, influenced by a myriad of factors, from industrial emissions to natural phenomena. Air Quality Assessments (AQAs) for planning are essential to manage and mitigate these impacts. They provide a comprehensive understanding of air quality, identifying potential issues and suggesting solutions.

In the context of planning applications and construction projects, AQAs are particularly crucial. They ensure compliance with environmental regulations, safeguarding public health and the environment.

Our team at Aval has experience in producing a variety of air quality assessments for various purposes. These include planning, environmental permits, local authority reviews, and research projects.

Our experts know a lot about this topic and would be happy to help with your project. Our team of air quality experts have experience in local government as Air Quality Officers and consulting firms. They have diverse backgrounds and expertise.

Aval Consulting Group Ltd is ISO certified and accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

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Air Quality Assessment - Expert Air Quality Consultants for Planning

The Imperative of Air Quality Assessment

Air Quality Assessments serve a vital role in environmental management. They provide a detailed analysis of air pollutants, helping to identify potential risks and impacts.

These assessments are not just a regulatory requirement. They are a proactive measure to protect public health and the environment.

By predicting pollutant concentrations through dispersion modelling, AQAs can inform mitigation strategies. Air quality can be significantly impacted during construction projects, making this particularly important.

In essence, AQAs are a key tool in our fight against pollution and its detrimental effects

Air Quality and Human Health

Poor air quality is a silent killer. It’s linked to a host of health issues, from respiratory diseases to cardiovascular conditions.

Air Quality Assessments help us understand this risk. They measure specific pollutants that can harm human health.

Indoor air quality is also a concern. It’s often overlooked but can have serious implications for occupational health.

In short, AQAs are crucial in safeguarding our health against the invisible threat of air pollution. 

Air Quality Assessment in Planning and Development

Air Quality Assessments are integral to planning applications. They help predict the impact of proposed developments on local air quality.

Air Quality during the construction phase is also crucial. They help mitigate the negative impact of any construction-related activity on air quality.

In essence, AQAs ensure that development projects comply with environmental regulations and safeguard public health.


The Role of Local Authorities and AQMAs

Local authorities play a key role in air quality management. They enforce air quality standards and regulate AQAs.

Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) are designated by local authorities. They are areas where air quality objectives are not likely to be achieved.

The establishment of AQMAs underscores the importance of AQAs in maintaining air quality standards.

The Process of Air Quality Monitoring

Air quality monitoring is a critical part of AQAs. It involves the identification and measurement of specific air pollutants using a range of monitoring tools.

Technological tools and methods used in air testing include either an indicative method of monitoring or a reference. These provide accurate data for assessment depending on the objective of the assessment.

When is an air quality assessment required?

An assessment of air quality is necessary in areas with poor air quality. Projects that could impact air quality during construction or operation also need it. EPUK and the Institute of Air Quality Management explain when an air quality assessment is needed.

We usually need an assessment when changes in traffic flow near sensitive areas could worsen air quality. Poor-air-quality areas also require an assessment when introducing new receptors. Projects that will introduce significant combustion processes with point source stack emissions also require an air quality assessment. 

Dispersion Modelling: Predicting the Impact

Dispersion modelling is a key component of AQAs. It predicts the concentration of air pollutants.

This prediction helps in understanding the potential impact of pollution emissions. It aids in making informed decisions about proposed developments.

When is a Detailed Air Quality Assessment Required?

A detailed Air Quality Assessment (AQA) is not always necessary. Certain criteria trigger the need for a more comprehensive study.

These criteria often relate to the scale of the proposed development and its potential impact on air quality.

Key triggers include:

  • Large-scale construction projects
  • Developments in or near Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs)
  • Proposals that significantly increase traffic or pollution emissions


Expert Approach to Air Quality Assessment Methods

Air quality assessments are crucial for planning to protect future residents from poor air quality. They also help prevent new developments from harming nearby sensitive areas. These assessments are essential for ensuring the well-being of both residents and the environment.

These assessments can range from simple desktop studies to more thorough evaluations. They include detailed air quality assessments, construction dust risk assessments, and analyses of air quality neutrality. We prepare our air quality assessments using guidelines from IAQMCIEEM, LAQM, DfTDefraNatural England, and Environment Agency.

We use advanced software to predict how a project will affect air quality. The key dispersion modelling software we use includes ADMS RoadsADMS 6AERMOD, CALPUFF, and Airviro. These tools help us evaluate how current air quality may impact new areas affected by the project. We use these tools to determine the potential environmental impact of a project and evaluate how current air quality may impact new areas affected by the project.

Key steps of an Air Quality Assessment

Key elements typically covered in air quality assessment include:

  • Conducting a baseline review of the current air quality conditions that includes relevant existing monitoring data and emission inventory.
  • Evaluating compliance with local, regional, and national planning policies related to air quality.
  • Determining the need for a detailed assessment of both the construction and operation phases of the development. Executing a detailed air quality assessment for these phases, if required, using an appropriate air quality dispersion model.
  • Decide whether to conduct an air emission risk assessment for an environmental permit.
  • Identifying and implementing necessary mitigation strategies to manage construction-phase dust and other emissions.
  • Assessing the impact of a project on sensitive areas, such as the environment, both new and existing. This includes recommending measures to minimize any adverse effects in accordance with IAQM guidelines.
  • Justifying the proposed mitigation measures based on the development’s design, location, and operation specifics.
  • We monitor air quality during construction and operation to analyse, predict, follow, and adjust mitigation measures as needed.
  • Developers can improve air quality assessments by following these steps. These steps help them address environmental impacts early on. They also ensure that their projects benefit the environment and community health.

Mitigation and Management: Post-Assessment Actions

Once an Air Quality Assessment is complete, the findings guide mitigation strategies. These strategies aim to reduce the impact of pollutants on air quality.

Mitigation measures may include changes to the proposed development or operational practices. For instance, altering construction methods or implementing traffic management plans.

Effective air quality management is a continuous process. Regular reassessment ensures that we maintain effective mitigation measures and air quality standards.

The Future of Air Quality Assessment

Air Quality Assessment is a dynamic field, evolving with technological advancements and environmental needs. The use of big data and AI for predictive analysis is a promising trend. The UK government is always at the forefront of providing opportunities for funding for innovative research.

Climate change also underscores the increasing importance of air quality management. As our environment changes, so too must our strategies for maintaining air quality. At Aval, we also assess the impact of greenhouse gas pollutants.

In conclusion, the Air Quality Assessment is a crucial tool for safeguarding human health and promoting sustainable development. Its importance will only grow in the future.

Contact Us Today for Your Free Quote

Just fill out the form below or contact us on 0333 006 2524.

One of our friendly consultant from our air quality team will get in touch with you within 24 hours with your free quote. If you have a specific need for a deadline, we will be more than happy to ensure we meet your project timeline and discuss this during our quotation. 

Free Initial Consultation and Quote

Call us on 0333 006 2524
Email to contact@aval-group.co.uk

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Content Last Updated: April 2024

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