Air quality

Service information

Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the vulnerable in society; children and older people, and those with heart and lung conditions.

We have been monitoring air quality in our Borough since 2000, targeting areas with significant road traffic congestion near to housing and schools. We currently measure air quality at 47 sites across our Borough. This monitoring has resulted in the declaration of Air Quality Management Areas where air quality exceeds health based standards, referred to as objectives. These AQMAs are at busy urban road junctions where exhaust fumes from slow moving road vehicles aren’t readily dispersed because of nearby buildings.

There are national health based targets for seven key airborne pollutants. The levels of these pollutants in our Borough have been monitored or modelled and the outcome is summarised below.

Pollutant Measured Parameter Objective
Benzene Running annual mean Yes
Annual average Yes
1,3-butadiene Running annual mean Yes
Carbon monoxide Max daily running 8hr mean Yes
Lead Annual mean Yes
Annual mean Yes
Nitrogen dioxide 1-hour mean Yes
Annual mean No - Not at 4 Air Quality Management Areas
Sulphur dioxide 1-hour mean Yes
24-hour mean Yes
15-minute mean Yes
Particulates (PM10) 24-hour mean Yes
Annual mean Yes

Annual status report

Air quality in Blackburn with Darwen is reviewed annually and an air quality status report​ is submitted to Defra.

Air quality management areas

These areas failed to meet the national health based annual target for nitrogen dioxide, mainly because of road vehicle exhaust emissions. Nitrogen dioxide causes irritation and inflammation of the lungs.

Action is being taken to improve air quality in these areas. Details can be found in the latest annual status report.​

An Air quality management area had been declared in 2012 at the junction on Accrington Road, Blackburn, but air quality has since improved and the order has been revoked.

Orders relating to the Accrington Road / Burnley Road junction:

Significant improvements have been identified at AQMA No.3, AQMA No.4 and AQMA No.5. It is likely that they will be revoked soon.

Additional hotspot - At the junction of Livesey Branch Road / Moorgate Street

Further monitoring is being undertaken to determine whether the junction should be declared as an AQMA. Details can be found in Section 2 of the latest annual air quality status report.

Air quality in Blackburn with Darwen now: results from our automatic monitor

We have an automatic monitor at Accrington Road Community Station in Blackburn. You can get the automatic monitoring results online.


Contact details

Mail Public Protection Service, White Dove Offices, Davyfiled Road, Blackburn. BB1 2LX
Phone Number(s) 01254 267699
Fax Number(s)  
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