Monitoring Air Quality in Liverpool


Air pollution measurements and data from modelling are used to give us the best picture of air pollution across Liverpool.
In Liverpool, we have seven automatic monitoring station. Six of these stations are owned and operated by the Council and record real-time levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). In addition there is one station owned and operated by DEFRA as part of a national Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN). A number of air pollutants are monitored at this station including NO2 and Particulate Matter. The site is part of a national Automatic Urban and Rural Network (AURN).
Liverpool City Council (LCC) also monitors NO2 concentrations at 120 roadside locations across the city using monitors called Passive Diffusion Tubes. The tubes are changed monthly and analysed to provide an average NO2 concentration for the previous month.
Air pollution modelling is also used to map air pollution concentrations. This helps us understand how air pollution varies across Liverpool, for example due to traffic or other pollution sources. Models can also take into account the strong influence of the weather on pollution.
Studies, called source apportionment studies, have been done to identify key sources of pollution. These studies use models to estimate which local activities (e.g. buses, HGVs, cars, rail, shipping, industry etc.) are responsible for the air pollution at a particular place, so that action can be taken. These studies show that traffic is the main cause of air pollution in Liverpool and that, overall, cars are the main contributor.”

(Above) Urban monitoring stations in Speke and Edge Lane

(Above) Passive diffusion tubes are often placed high on lampposts around the city.

Managing Air Quality in Liverpool

Like all Local Authorities, Liverpool is legally required to undertake Local Air Quality Management. This involves reviewing and assessing its air quality every year, to check that it will meet national air quality objectives for concentrations of different pollutants which are set to protect health. Where it is assessed that objectives will not be achieved, Local Authorities must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA), and produce an action plan. Since 2008, Liverpool City Council has declared the whole of Liverpool as an Air Quality Management Area, as there are several locations across the city where air quality thresholds are not being met.

Although the whole of Liverpool has been declared as an AQMA, air quality varies across the city. Concentrations are higher along busy roads.

More information on Local Air Quality Management can be found on the Defra website at:

The latest annual status report for Liverpool is available on request.

Information for developers about air quality assessments

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. Included within the assessment must be a baseline study which requires the latest monitoring data from Liverpool City Council (LCC) to be included and must take into account the most recent review and assessment reports.

Annual status reports are produced by LCC and are available under the 2005 Reuse of Public Sector Information (ROPSI) regulations at a cost of £168. If you wish to obtain any of these reports, please contact us.