Air quality reviews and assessments
The Council continuously carries out reviews and assessments of the air quality in Gateshead and reports its findings annually to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The Council operates an extensive air quality monitoring network using diffusion tubes for NO2, and real time monitoring equipment for NO2 and PM2.5. Monitoring takes place in locations where there is a risk of the air quality standards being exceeded and where there is relevant exposure in the form of housing, offices, schools or hospitals.
The Council switched from monitoring PM10 to PM2.5 at two locations in 2011 in response to the growing body of evidence on the impact that PM2.5 has on health and particularly cardiovascular disease.
The data from monitoring results can be found in all of the above mentioned reports, and you can view real time monitoring data from Gateshead at www.airqualityengland.co.uk
Annual status reports
Updating and Screening Assessments
Air Quality Management Area - Town Centre
Due to measured levels of NO2 repeatedly exceeding the annual mean objective of 40 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3), Gateshead Council declared an AQMA in April 2005 within Gateshead Town Centre. The AQMA was extended to the south along Durham Road towards Low Fell in April 2008.
Over the last several years, levels of NO2 have fallen and have remained consistently below the annual mean objective at locations within the AQMA. Monitoring of NO2 in the AQMA was extended following a Ministerial Direction in 2017 for the Council to improve air quality particularly around the A167 Tyne Bridge crossing.
In 2018, monitoring results showed that concentrations exceeded the Air Quality Objectives in 6 locations, but these were all located on or around the Tyne Bridge. The maximum concentration recorded was 44.9 µg/m3 measured at the new Tyne Bridge automatic monitoring site. This site is adjacent to the dual carriageway crossing the bridge.
These monitoring locations do not represent public exposure and are not applied for LAQM purposes. By monitoring and understanding the pollutant concentrations in the AQMA monitoring locations we can be satisfied that other areas in the borough will be well below air quality objective standards where there are receptors.
Following the submission of the 2018 Annual Status Report, the advice from DEFRA was to consider reducing the size of the AQMA. Gateshead Council are reluctant to do this until the requirements of the ministerial direction have been met, and the impact of the measures are fully assessed. One of the potential impacts of the direction, and any resultant charging mechanism, could be the redistribution of polluting vehicles from the A167 Tyne Bridge into populated parts of the AQMA, worsening the health of people living there.
Air Quality Management Area - Portobello
The Updating and Screening Assessment Report 2006 identified that the annual mean air quality standard for NO2 was also being exceeded in Portobello. This was again due to traffic pollution.
A further detailed assessment was carried out to confirm these figures and an AQMA was declared in 2008. This AQMA was revoked in 2012 as the annual mean for NO2 had fallen well below the air quality standard for three consecutive years largely because of a reduction in traffic in the area.
Anwill come into force on 1 October 2018.