Air quality

Air pollution results from the introduction of a range of substances into the atmosphere from a wide variety of sources. It can cause both short term and long term effects on health, but also on the wider environment. The air quality in Wakefield is generally better now than it has been at any time since the 1960s.

These improvements have been achieved through the introduction of legislation enforcing tighter controls on emissions of pollutants from key sources, notably industry, domestic combustion and transport.  However, despite the improvements made, air pollution is still recognised as a risk to health, and many people are concerned about pollution in the air that they breathe.

Local authorities have duties to review and assess the local air quality against national pollutant health based objectives. Areas that exceed these objectives are required to be designated as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). Following the revocation (removal) of the M62 and Ackworth AQMAs in December 2020 there are currently 8 AQMAs within the Wakefield District. 

An Air Quality Management Area gives that area special status for example, consideration must be given to air quality when new developments are to take place which might create more traffic or introduce new receptors in an AQMA. We have produced an Air Quality and Emissions Technical Planning Guidance  and Construction Dust Management Guidance to be used by developers as part of the planning application process and help improve air quality.

To find out more about air quality and the air pollution forecast for today visit the DEFRA web-site.

What can you do to improve air quality?

Reducing emissions to the air from our everyday activities will help improve local air quality. Everyone can do their bit to reduce air pollution:

  • Taking public transport or car sharing particularly during peak travel times reduces the number vehicles on the road and reduces emissions.
  • Walking or cycling on short journeys reduces the traffic and in turn reduces emissions.
  • Drive efficiently if driving is required. Try eco-driving skills – it saves money.
  • When buying a new car or vehicle buy the cleanest you can. Consider buying an electric or hybrid powered vehicle. If buying a petrol or diesel powered car, look for the  'Euro standard' ranging from 'Euro 1' (old) to 'Euro 6' (latest), newer cars with higher Euro standards tend to have lower emissions
  • Care for your vehicle – check tuning, tyre pressure, brakes and fuel consumption – regular servicing helps keep your car efficient, saves fuel and reduces emissions.
  • Switch off your engine when stationary (in some towns and cities it is an offence to leave your vehicle idling when stationary for more than a few minutes)

What can I do at home?

The heating of homes and buildings can contribute to air pollution depending on the energy source used. Find more information here

Air Pollution

If you have a problem with local air pollution, such as smoke, dust or odour, visit our Air Pollution web page for more information.

Useful information

Contact Us

Environmental Health Wakefield Council Wakefield One PO Box 700 Burton Street Wakefield WF1 2EB

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