Air quality

Last Updated: 3 April 2024

Poor air quality can affect peoples’ health as well as the local environment. We are responsible for assessing and, if necessary, improving air quality to meet national health based objectives.

We currently meet six of the seven national objectives.

Pollution monitoring

We monitor nitrogen dioxide levels around the district every month and report each year on progress on air quality to Defra.

This graph shows Nitrogen dioxide levels at different sites in South Lakeland (PDF 707KB / 4 pages).

Current pollution levels can be viewed at Defra UK Air

The Health matters: air pollution report from the Chief Executive of Public Health England is a good introduction to air quality and health.

Air Quality Management Areas

If air quality does not meet national objectives an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) must be declared.

An AQMA is somewhere where action needs to be taken to reduce pollution levels. An action plan must be produced to tackle the problem.

The only AQMA in South Lakeland is the Kendal Air Quality Management Area.

We are working to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels in Kendal and this is already having a positive impact.

The measures mainly involve reducing and easing the flow of traffic in the town centre and include:

  • SCOOT traffic signal control
  • junction and road network improvements
  • increased planting and planning obligations

Everyone can take action to help improve the air we breathe locally. Here are some tips on how to do your bit for air quality.

Air quality status reports

Our latest reports to Defra are listed below:

You can contact us if you would like copies of historic reports. 

Air quality action plan

The actions we will take to improve air quality in South Lakeland District Council between 2016 and 2020 are outlined in our Air Quality Action Plan (PDF 625KB / 33 pages).

Air quality and planning permission

We have a leaflet for developers which outlines the information we will need so we can assess the impact of a development on air quality. Please contact us if you would like a copy.

Developers have to let us know before installing a non domestic furnace or fixed boiler.

Specific information will be required for new (non-domestic) chimney stacks. You should apply to us for chimney height approval, a full D1 chimney height calculation may be required. 

We keep a register of biomass plants depending on their size and location. At the planning stage we will need a biomass boiler information request form (PDF 200KB / 7 pages).

To control emissions, you may also need an Environmental Permit.

We strongly recommend you contact us to discuss these matters early in the planning process. This will ensure that you send us the right information and avoid delays.

Smoke Control Areas

There are no Smoke Control Areas or Smoke Control Zones in South Lakeland.