Air Quality Impact Assessment

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Air quality is of ever-increasing importance for new developments, and planning applications must guarantee that they meet strict air quality standards in the UK. We specialise in helping you through Air Quality Impact Assessments (AQIA). Our advice to all our clients is to avoid issues by acting early. This approach is essential for Air Quality, where the limits applied can be a reason for planning applications to be unsuccessful. By looking at the baseline conditions and potential mitigation early in a project, we can ensure compliance with the exacting standards Local Authorities apply to developments.

Our company’s core value of Clarity means that our approach is different. We work with you to find solutions by making air quality issues easy to understand.

With over 500 air quality management zones in the UK, developments need to be sensitive to their impact on emissions and increased traffic. However, this is far from being just an urban issue, with rural developments also acting as potential sources of emissions. Agricultural processes such as pig and poultry farming and commercial energy processes from Biomass, Combined Heat & Power (CHP) units and anaerobic digesters can contribute to emissions and odours.

Biological Receptors

Air Quality and Odour issues can affect a variety of receptors. An important starting point for any project is understanding the baseline levels and the potential impact from exposure. Does your development create dust, smells, exhaust fumes, increased or altered traffic? If so, you need to consider what receptors you affect. This process can be complex, considering the many different types of receptors and how they are sensitive to various sources.

There are a host of receptors that are sensitive to different emissions from different sources:

  • Residences
  • Workplaces
  • Public buildings
  • Sensitive ecological habitats
  • Air Quality Management Areas.


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The sectors that we work with aren’t all contributors to emissions, so it’s helpful to know about your development’s risk of exposure to existing levels and sources.

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Both existing developments and new housing as receptors for existing emissions and increased traffic

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Industrial processes, developments for water, utility providers, manufacturing, construction and quarrying

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New energy plants both as standalone and cumulative impacts with existing generation

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New developments for intensive farming units and processes

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Depending on the source of the emissions affecting your development, there may be a requirement for one or more assessments. An AQIA assessment will consider some of the emissions: dust, PM10, NO2, NOx, odour, PM2.5 and ammonia.

These can come from a variety of sources that can affect air quality:

  • Biomass Boilers
  • Combined Heat & Power (CHP) units
  • Gas Boilers
  • Hen Sheds
  • Pig Sheds
  • Anaerobic Digesters
  • Roadway Traffic
  • Quarrying
  • Construction

As part of my planning application, I need to provide an AQIA. What should I do?

An AQIA is a four-stage process:

  • Understand the baseline conditions.
  • Perform a Screening Assessment of the development.
  • Complete detailed dispersion modelling.
  • Submit a full report to the determining Planning Authority.

For this, we will need information about the location and type of development. We’ll then look into the background concentrations and what sensitive receptors your development might affect. In some instances, we might be able to use screening tools such as the DEFRA Biomass Screening Tool, SEPA’s SCAIL model or DMRB Screening to confirm that you can comply with the limits.

If not, we may need to carry out dispersion modelling, a detailed computer model that can account for wind direction, topography, building heights, and weather conditions. The modelling will allow us to complete a detailed report and look into potential mitigation measures if required.


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Our services range across the planning and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process, and we support developments with assessments such as:

Air Quality Impact Assessment (AQIA)
Dispersion Modelling
Odour Impact Assessment
Environmental Permits
Pollution Prevention Control (PPC) Permits
Design Manual for Roads and Bridges (DMRB) Screening Assessments
Biomass Emissions Screening Tool
Industrial Emissions Screening Tool
Dust Risk Assessments

Air Quality Impact Assessment Enquiry Form

Complete this form to make an enquiry about an Air Quality Impact Assessment. Alternatively call 0141 212 1322 and one of our advisers will guide you.


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