Ryedale District Council

Air quality

All local authorities must periodically review and assess the current and future air quality within their areas, according to Part IV of the Environment Act 1995.

Ryedale District Council Local Air Quality Review and Assessment: Malton Air Quality Management Area Order

Clean air is essential for our health. Air pollution from transport, industry and domestic properties can cause breathing problems, damage buildings and destroy natural habitats. Major pollutants are sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon oxides, methane and ozone.
In general, Ryedale's air quality is good, although high ozone episodes affect the District and nitrogen dioxide levels are high in an area of Malton designated as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). The Council is committed to maintaining Ryedale's good air quality and improving the air quality within the AQMA to achieve the Government's air quality objectives.


All local authorities must periodically review and assess the current and future air quality within their areas, according to Part IV of the Environment Act 1995.

The government has set Air Quality Objectives (AQO's) and produced policy and guidance on reviewing and assessing local air quality. The review and assessment of air quality has several phases.

Updating and Screening Assessment (USA)

  • Should be undertaken at three-yearly intervals to assess local air quality, identify and consider any changes that may have occurred since the previous assessment round
  • Will reach a view as to whether a detailed assessment is required for one or more of the pollutants listed in the UK Air Quality Objectives

Detailed Assessment (DA)

  • Provides further information about any pollutants and specific locations at which the USA has shown there is a significant risk that an Air Quality Objective will not be met

Progress Report (PR)

  • Intended to maintain continuity in the Local Air Quality Management process
  • Are required in all years when the authority is not completing a USA (every three years)

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Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)

  • When a detailed assessment has shown that there is a significant risk that an AQO is not being met, or will not be met, at one or more relevant exposure locations, local authorities are required to designate by Order one or more AQMA's that cover these locations

Further Assessment (FA)

  • Once the AQMA Order has been made, a further assessment must be produced within 12 months
  • The FA supplements the information provided in the Detailed Assessment. It is intended to increase confidence in the appropriateness of the AQMA and its geographical limits
  • The FA is also intended to define the improvement in air quality and corresponding reduction in emissions, required to satisfy the breached AQO ('s)

Air Quality Action Plan

  • An Action Plan must be produced within 18 months of an AQMA Order being made
  • The purpose of the Action Plan is to identify measures to be implemented in order to improve air quality in the AQMA so that the AQO ('s) are complied with

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Air Quality Review and Assessment in Ryedale

  • A Detailed Assessment completed in March 2009 concluded that, due primarily to emissions from local road traffic it was likely that the annual mean AQO for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) would be exceeded in several areas within Malton town centre (i.e. at the facades of a number of residential properties in the town)
  • On the basis of these findings, and in accordance with the statutory guidance, we determined that, subject to acceptance of the Assessment by DEFRA, an Order should be made to establish an AirQuality Management Area (AQMA) covering all such locations

Malton Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) Order

DEFRA accepted the conclusions of the Detailed Assessment and an Order was made on December 2009 designating the Malton AQMA. The Order identifies the roads and properties included in the AQMA.

Setting the boundaries of an AQMA involves an element of judgement. Consideration is given to

  • the extent of the predicted areas where AQO may be exceeded
  • the location of relevant receptors
  • the nature and location of relevant sources and
  • other local factors

Ultimately this is a matter for the local authority to decide on but all relevant exposure locations where the AQO is likely to be exceeded must be included.

The Malton AQMA Order, the 2009 Detailed Assessment Report and various subsequent Reports produced by the Council in accordance with its Local Air Quality Management obligations can be viewed and downloaded from this web page. This includes the Councils Further Assessment Report which was completed in January 2011.

The Further Assessment Report has concluded that:

  • Nitrogen dioxide levels still exceed the AQO at a number of locations within the Malton AQMA where there is public exposure;
  • The existing geographical limits of the AQMA are appropriate;
  • Local road traffic accounts for just over 75% of the NO2 in the AQMA;
  • Approximately 40% of the NO2 arising from road traffic is due to emissions from Heavy Duty Vehicles (HDV's); and
  • A reduction in emissions from local road traffic of at least 8% will be necessary in order for the NO2 AQO to be met at all public exposure locations in the AQMA.

Malton Air Quality Action Plan 2012

On 14 December 2009 we designated the 2012 Air Quality Action Plan for Ryedale District Council: The Malton Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) Order.

  • We now have an obligation under the Environment Act 1985 to devise and implement measures by means of an Air Quality Action Plan to improve air quality in the Malton Air Quality Management Area
  • The Air Quality Action Plan presents an evaluation of the range of air quality improvement measures that have been considered
  • A number of measures have been identified for inclusion in the Action Plan. They range from a major junction improvement scheme to reduce the flow of traffic through the AQMA, to measures that seek to promote less polluting forms of travel, such as school travel plans and raising awareness.
  • A number of other measures have been identified for further evaluation and possible inclusion in future revisions of the Action Plan. Certain other measures have been rejected as inappropriate.
  • An important element of the Action Plan is a commitment to ongoing air quality monitoring and periodic reviews of the steps we have put in place to reach acceptable air quality

Following the recommendation of the Commissioning Board of 22 September 2011 the draft Action Plan was subject to formal consultation. The consultation was undertaken for a period of 12 weeks and the Action Plan was amended in light of the consultees' responses. The Action Plan was adopted by the Commissioning Board on 26 January 2012. The Action Plan can be viewed and downloaded from this web page.

For further information email Health and Environment or telephone 01653 600666.

The UK-AIR website provides in depth information on air quality and air pollution in the UK.


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