Air quality

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

Report smoke and dust pollution

Report odour problem (bad smells)

We have been monitoring air quality in Blackburn with Darwen 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 (AQMAs) where air quality exceeds health based 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.

If you are using the information report in connection with a planning application please be aware of the planning advisory note: air quality.

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.

  • AQMA Order No.1 Intack
  • AQMA Order No.2 Bastwell
  • AQMA Order No.6 Blackamoor
  • AQMA Order No.7 Four Lane Ends

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

Orders revoking former Air quality management areas

Air quality management areas had been declared elsewhere, but air quality improved at these locations and they were subsequently revoked.

  • 2017 Order Revoking AQMA No.8 Accrington Road
  • 2019 Order Revoking AQMA No.3 A666 Between Robert St and Wraith St
  • 2019 Order Revoking AQMA No.4 Witton
  • 2019 Order Revoking AQMA No.5 Earcroft

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

We have an automatic monitor at Accrington Road Community Station, Blackburn.

View the automatic monitoring results.