Air Pollution Monitoring and Trends

Bristol City Council has an extensive monitoring network that compares well with other cities.

Over 100 sites around the city measure nitrogen dioxide, including continuous analysers which publish data in real time from Bristol City Council’s and Defra’s air quality monitoring stations to our open data platform.

In response to citizens’ concerns Bristol City Council expanded this monitoring network in 2018 to include all the schools within the Air Quality Management Area and other schools in the city which are close to a busy road. The results from this work are now available.

Trends in nitrogen dioxide have remained stable over the last 20 years, but show slight improvement over the last five years. At some locations annual mean concentrations exceed 60 ugm-3 and widespread breaches of the annual mean objective for nitrogen dioxide exist.

Monitoring PM (Particulate Matter – particles too small to see)

Bristol does not breach legal limits on particulate matter. However public health experts are increasingly concerned that there may be “no safe limit” to particulate matter and so Bristol City Council is in the process of working up a monitoring campaign to establish sources and scale of the problem.

National Government (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Defra) have two stations that are part of the national network, one in St. Pauls and one on Temple Way.

Community monitoring, sometimes called “citizen sensing”, is becoming increasingly popular. It can raise awareness about air quality and help to engage people about the issue. We believe citizen sensing can bring people together to work out how we solve the generation of pollution and the actions needed to prevent air pollution. Currently these monitors cannot be used for compliance testing as they are not accurate enough. Bristol City Council encourages and supports well-run citizen sensing as an engagement tool.

Useful links