Air pollution monitoring and trends

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

We have over 100 sites around the city that measure nitrogen dioxide. We also have continuous analysers which publish data in real time along with Defra’s air quality monitoring stations to our open data platform.

In response to resident concerns 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.

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. We are in the process of establishing the sources and scale of the problem in Bristol.

The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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 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. Bristol City Council encourages and supports well-run citizen sensing as an engagement tool.

Useful links