Air quality guidance for developers

The planning consent regime has an important part to play in improving local air quality. Poor air quality affects public health and the environment. Air quality will be taken into consideration where it is considered that development proposals are sensitive to poor air quality (for example in an Air Quality Management Area), or where there are significant additional emissions to air.

Development proposals may be submitted as outline or full planning applications. Outline applications should contain sufficient detail to allow the impacts to be thoroughly assessed. Pre-application discussions between developers, their representatives and the council are encouraged to ensure any application is complete and meets the necessary requirements.  Early engagement is also beneficial in agreeing the scope and methodologies to be used in air quality assessments.

An air quality assessment is a study of the effects of a development on air quality. This can take the form of a simple screening assessment, or be a more complex assessment including dispersion modelling. Specialist environmental consultants will be required to undertake the assessment, especially where this involves dispersion modelling.

Certain applications may need to be accompanied by an Environment Impact Assessment. For these applications, air quality assessments should form part of the Environmental Statement.

Generally, an air quality assessment will be required for any application where an impact on air quality is considered likely.

Guidance for undertaking air quality assessments

The following guidance should be considered when preparing an air quality assessment:

Before undertaking an assessment, please contact the Environmental Protection Team to:

  • confirm that an assessment is necessary
  • agree the scope and methodologies to be used.

The Environmental Protection Team can be contacted by email to