Lancaster Air Quality Management Area (AQMA)


The National Air Quality Strategy for England and Wales has set health-related air quality objectives for eight air pollutants. These objectives have various averaging times and may apply at different locations. For example the annual average objective for the pollutant Nitrogen Dioxide is a concentration in air of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre and this applies only to residential properties.

For seven air pollutants, local authorities must periodically review and assess local air quality to identify any locations where air quality objectives are unlikely to be achieved. An air quality management area (AQMA) must be declared wherever the objectives are unlikely to be achieved by the dates they come into force.

In central Lancaster an Air Quality Management Area has been declared (details below) due primarily to exhaust emissions from road traffic.

Details of Lancaster air quality management area
Extent: Parts of central Lancaster alongside three interconnecting gyratory roads – see a map view or the original Order with a plan and list of road links
Pollutant(s): Nitrogen Dioxide  - annual average and 1 hour objectives only.
Sources: Road traffic exhaust emissions
Progress: An extended network of nitrogen dioxide measurement points was established (running since 2004).
 A Further Assessment (PDF, 3MB) technical report was prepared and published.
The council worked with other agencies to produce an Air Quality Action Plan for Lancaster (PDF, 709KB) and this was approved in September 2007.


Lancaster Air Quality Action Plan
Status: Interim action plan published (longer-term plan under preparation)

The interim air quality action plan for Lancaster (PDF, 709KB) was approved by the council's Cabinet meeting on 4th September 2007.
This is an interim air quality action plan containing 21 actions, primarily 'enabling' measures.
Meanwhile the Lancaster & Morecambe Vision Board's Transport Strategy has identified some potential medium and long term solutions.  These are being considered as we prepare a longer-term action plan in consultation with partner agencies.

The M6/Heysham link road opened in October 2016 has provided some relief to Lancaster centre however further measures are required to address air quality issues in the location. As transport is the main pollution source in this location the production of a new air quality action plan has been brought under the delivery of the Transport Master Plan for Lancaster (available at :

A new assessed plan is due to be finalised in 2019/20 although some elements will be delivered in the intervening period.

Last updated: 11 August 2017