What is being done?

Policy documents

The wide range of issues concerning air pollution and the various agencies enforcing Government policy and legislation make this a very complex area to describe, however the links below access pages which discuss action being taken at international, national, regional and local level.

What the Government is doing about air pollution

DEFRA has the key role in controlling and managing air quality across the UK, through various strategies and regulatory regimes.

An Air Quality Strategy has been published which lists the air pollutants of concern; sets air quality standards and objectives for those pollutants; describes a way forward for work and planning on air quality issues; and identifies potential new national policy measures which could give further health benefits and move closer towards meeting the Strategy’s objectives.

ChimneysWhat is being done locally

Local Air Quality Management is a regime in which local authorities have carried out a review and assessment of air quality in their areas to see whether national AQ objectives will be met, and where necessary have declared local air quality management areas (AQMA) and devised action plans.

Where an air quality management area is designated, local authorities are also required to work towards the UK Air Quality Strategy’s objectives prescribed in regulations for that purpose. An air quality action plan (AQAP) describing the pollution reduction measures must then be put in place. These plans contribute to the achievement of air quality limit values at local level.

Visit the Your borough section to download local Air Quality Action Plans.


Planet Earth

Businesses that have the potential to pollute the air, land and water are controlled by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (EPR) and its amendments, the Regulations also implement some European Community Directives. It is the responsibility of the Environment Agency (EA) and Local Authorities (LA) to enforce the Regulations. The EA regulates the most polluting industrial installations under Part A of EPR, and LA’s regulate the less polluting installations under Part B and Part A(2) of the Regulations. Find out more in the Local Air section.

Smoke and dust control – local authorities enforce legislation which covers smoke and dust emissions.

What the public can do

Find out about actions you can take to improve air quality in London in the What Can I Do section.