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Air Quality

We monitor air quality levels to ensure that the people, animals and property of the District stay safe and healthy.

Air pollution happens when harmful substances are allowed into the air. The main pollutant affecting our air is nitrogen dioxide, but problems can also be caused by increased levels of carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, lead, ground level ozone, small particles and cancer causing chemicals like benzene.

We operate a monitoring programme for atmospheric pollutants using a network of equipment, and take action to make sure that problems are dealt with swiftly. You can view Smoke Control Zones in the District by using the online mapping tool.

Where appropriate, developers have to consider the impact of their proposed development on air quality. If necessary developers may have to appoint a consultant to undertake an Air Quality Assessment to look at the potential impact the development would have on existing air quality.

Please see our annual status reports below:

Historic air quality status reports can be obtained by contacting the Council:

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Health and Air Quality

Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts. Generally if you are young and in a good state of health, moderate air pollution levels are unlikely to have any serious short term effects. However, elevated levels and/or long term exposure to air pollution can lead to more serious symptoms and conditions affecting human health. This mainly affects the respiratory and inflammatory systems, but is also recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer

The main air pollutants within North East Derbyshire are nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).

Nitrogen Dioxide is a concern because it can irritate the areas of the lungs, increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases.

There is concern about PM2.5 because “there is no evidence of a safe level of exposure to or a threshold below which no adverse health effects occur”.

Although one of the main sources of PM2.5 are emissions from diesel engines there is currently a growing concern over the increase in biomass combustion, and in particular the growth in the use of wood burning stoves to provide heating. The Defra Website and the Environmental Protection UK Website both have more information about health and air pollution.

Biomass and wood burning

Open fires and wood-burning stoves have risen in popularity in recent years and may be an additional form of heating, an attractive feature or the sole heat source. Some people are unaware that use in the home increases domestic exposure to air pollutants and makes a significant contribution to our national emissions of airborne particulates. These are inhaled and transported around the body where they can become lodged in the heart, brain and other organs.

While we will never be able to eliminate all airborne particulates, there are simple steps that households can take to limit emissions both indoors and out that will make a big difference.

So what can you do?

  • Consider burning less - think about why you are lighting your fire, as well as how much fuel you use. Is it necessary? If your house is already warm enough and you don’t need to burn, not burning is the simplest way of reducing your costs and minimising airborne particulates.
  • Burn dry (seasoned) wood - if you burn wet timber or unseasoned wood as a fuel, you have to boil off the water before the appliance can give out the proper level of heat. In turn, this creates a lot of smoke, tar and particulates which can damage your chimney and appliance and contributes to air pollution.
  • Buy ‘Ready to Burn’ fuel - use wood marked as “Ready to Burn” by a Woodsure Certified Supplier. Any wood displaying the Ready to Burn logo will have 20% moisture content or less so once you get it home it is “Ready to Burn”. These logs burn more efficiently than unseasoned, green wood and reduce environmental impact. You can find a local supplier by going on line and putting your postcode into the HETAS website. Further information is provided on the Ready to Burn website
  • Do not burn treated waste wood (eg old furniture or pallets) or household rubbish - treated waste wood (with paint or preservatives) can emit harmful fumes, and household rubbish may include plastics that can release toxic pollutants, such as arsenic, into your home when burnt and may affect your health.
  • Consider using an approved smokeless fuel – a list of approved smokeless fuels is available on the HETAS website
  • If you are buying a new stove - check it is Defra approved and have it installed by a qualified person, see the HETAS website for details
  • Check how to operate your appliance efficiently - Always operate your stove in line with the manufacturer’s guidance. By controlling the air supply correctly etc. you will improve efficiency - this will save you money as well as reduce emissions
  • Regularly maintain and service your stove (eg annually) - this means it will work better and will generate more heat from what you burn.
  • Get your chimney swept regularly (up to twice a year) - during use, particulates build up in the chimney reducing the efficiency and increasing the risk of chimney fires. It is better to use a qualified chimney sweep who will also be able to advise you on good burning practices for your open fire or stove.

Sticking to these simple tips will help to keep airborne particulates and smoke down and ensure optimum efficiency and safety.

Pollution forecasts in your area

Find the latest and live pollution forecasts on the Defra website for North East Derbyshire.

Clean Air Day

Air pollution is real and harms the health of millions. But, there are lots of simple things we can do to improve air quality and look after our health.

The Clean Air Hub contains everything you need to know about air pollution and how we can all make changes to improve air quality.

Check back soon to see what we will be doing for Clean Air Day!