Air quality

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The Council has a duty to assess the air quality within the Borough. We aim, by working with various partners to improve the air quality for all.

The biggest cause of poor air quality in the UK is down to car fumes. Opting to drive less will help improve local air quality, but if you have to drive, there are things you can do to reduce your emissions.

What causes poor air quality?

Air pollutants can be generated from local, national and international sources and travel long distances resulting in 'transboundary' pollution, e.g. Ozone.

The major pollutants and their main sources are:

  • Nitrogen Dioxide: Produced by petrol or diesel burning engines and coal/oil burning furnaces
  • Sulphur Dioxide: Produced by burning fossil fuels (e.g. fuel oil and coal)
  • Carbon Monoxide: Produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels, such as petrol, coal and wood
  • Particles (PM10): Produced by diesel vehicles, power stations, industrial processes, mining and quarrying, and domestic sources
  • Benzene: Produced by petrol burning engines, diesel burning engines and petrol evaporation from vehicles
  • 1, 3-Butadiene: Produced by the combustion of petrol and diesel fuel, house fires and the burning of other fossil fuels
  • Lead: Produced by petrol burning engines and industrial combustion plants and processes.

How do I find out about current air quality?

Information about the current air quality and monitoring results can be found on the Kent and Medway Air Quality Network

What duties are placed on the Council to improve air quality?

The Environment Act 1995 (part IV) placed a duty on Local Authorities to review and assess their local air quality through the process of Local Air Quality Management.

Local Air Quality Management (LAQM)

The basis of the process is to regularly review and assess measured and predicted levels of the pollutants listed above against their respective Air Quality Objective. Where it is unlikely that the objective will be met by the objective date, the Local Authority must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). We have declared 7 AQMAs across the Borough in areas where the annual objective for Nitrogen dioxide is not being met.

These are:

  1. M20 - between New Hythe Lane, Larkfield and Hall Road, Aylesford Map
  2. Tonbridge High Street (south) between Botany and the High Street/ Vale Road roundabout. Map
  3. A26 - Red Hill/ Tonbridge Road junction, Wateringbury Map
  4. A20 Larkfield- London Road/New Hythe Lane junction and London Road (A20) towards Ditton. Map
  5. A20 Ditton - Station Road/London Road (A20) junction, Ditton Map
  6. A20 Aylesford- London Road/ Hall Road junction and London Road (A20) Map
  7. Borough Green - incorporates the triangle area of Western Road, High Street and Sevenoaks Road (A25). Map

The Council monitors using:

  1. 74 Diffusion tubes located at 52 sites across the Borough.
  2. A continuous NOx analyser sited in Tonbridge High Street, which measures the levels of pollutants 24 hours a day.

How can I find out more?

As part of the Review and Assessment process Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council have produced reports to support their ongoing decision making process. All the reports are based on monitoring data collected over a calendar year.

Copies of the following reports are available:

This document was accepted by DEFRA in July 2011 however it has since undergone consultation with stakeholders including Highways Authorities (from KCC and the Highways Agency) and other departments within the Council. In-light of the comments raised through this consultation and recent changes in planning policy, the document is currently being amended. The new document will have a direct focus upon tackling air quality issues across the borough and within the 7 already declared AQMAs.

Copies of earlier reports are also available:

If you wish to discuss any issue on this page please contact the Environmental Protection Team