Defra updates background air quality data

Background maps to assist local authorities in assessing their air quality have been updated to include 2011 data

Background air quality mapping information used to assist local authorities assessing pollution levels has been updated by Defra to include the latest 2011 data.

Updated last week (June 19), the data includes background maps for the years 2011 to 2030 for nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter PM10 and 2.5.

Defra's Nobel House headquarters in London

Defra’s Nobel House headquarters in London

According to Defra, these maps replace the 2010-based maps and have been produced to ‘reduce the impact of the inclusion of unusually cold weather in 2010’ on the projections of nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide.

The updated maps also incorporate more up-to-date information on emissions from Euro 5 and Euro 6 light duty vehicles.

Background mapping data is provided to assist local authorities with reviewing and assessing local air quality as part of their statutory requirements under the Environment Act 1995.

Using the data tool on Defra’s UK Air website, each local authority in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is able to download background air quality mapping of their area.

Elsewhere, the Emissions Factor Toolkit (EFT), which is published by the Defra and devolved administrations, has also been updated. The EFT is again designed to assist local authorities carrying out assessments of local air quality as part of their monitoring duties under the Environment Act 1995.

As part of the EFT update, emissions factors have been combined with information on fleet composition on different road types collected as part of the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory and information from Transport for London, to allow total emission from a particular road link to be calculated.

In addition, Defra’s Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) website has also migrated to


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