Air quality in Bristol

The legal limit for nitrogen dioxide is 40ugm. At some Bristol locations annual mean concentrations exceed 60ugm.

Nitrogen dioxide levels have remained stable over the last 20 years but show slight improvement over the last five years.

Air pollution caused by traffic peaks at rush hour, is worse in winter, on still days and closer to main roads.

Particulate matter – particles too small to see

Bristol does not breach legal limits on particulate matter. However, experts are increasingly concerned there is no safe limit for particulate matter. We are working to understand the sources and scale of the problem in Bristol.

Monitoring air pollution

Bristol City Council has an extensive monitoring network of 100 sites that measure nitrogen dioxide. We also have continuous analysers which publish real time data to our open data platform.

We expanded our monitoring network in 2018 to include all schools within the Air Quality Management Area and schools close to a busy road. The results from this work are now available.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have two monitoring stations in Bristol, one in St. Pauls and one on Temple Way.

Community monitoring

Community monitoring, sometimes called “citizen sensing”, is becoming increasingly popular. It can raise awareness about air quality and bring people together to tackle and prevent pollution. At the moment these monitors can’t be used for compliance testing as they are not accurate enough but we encourage and support well-run citizen sensing groups as a way of raising awareness about the dangers of air pollution.

Further information