Derby revokes Air Quality Management Area

Derby city council revokes AQMA in the Sinfin area after particulate matter levels were found to have ‘fallen significantly’

An Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in the Sinfin area of Derby has been revoked by the city council after levels of particulate matter PM10 were found to be no longer in breach of legal limits.

An area around Victory Road in the city was declared an AQMA by the council in August 2001 due to high levels of PM10.

Airbourne particles of metal from a foundry in the Sinfin area of Derby were found to be the primary source of PM10 levels

Airbourne particles of metal from a foundry in the Sinfin area of Derby were found to be the primary source of PM10 levels in the AQMA

However, according to the council, the primary source of PM10 emissions was a local metal casting foundry which ceased operations in October 2005.

The council recently undertook a review of air quality in the area to decide whether the AQMA was still needed, which showed annual averages and 24-hour levels of PM10 have ‘fallen significantly’ since the foundry’s closure and now comply with national objectives.

As a result, following a public consultation in early 2012, a report on the review’s findings was presented at a council cabinet meeting this week (August 14) and councillors agreed to revoke the AQMA, pending a seven-day call in period on the decision — a move which the council suggested would also save money.

According to the council report considered by cabinet this week, continuing to monitor PM10 across Derby has been a ‘pressure’ since April 2012 when funding for this was cut by the council.

However, once an AQMA is revoked there is no further need or statutory requirement to carry out specific monitoring, thereby delivering cost savings for the council.

The government is also currently consulting on plans to remove the obligation for councils that have declared an AQMA to continue monitoring air quality, a proposal that was this week (August 15) slammed by two Labour MPs (see air story).


Monitoring of PM10 in the Victory Road area of the city has been undertaken for more than 10 years by the council’s environment and regulatory services division.

Following recorded exceedances of the 24-hour PM10 objective in 2003, 2004 and 2005, a council investigation showed the foundry to be the main source of the pollutant.

Airborne particles collected from the location contained ‘significantly elevated’ levels of the same metal iron used within the foundry, while operational incidents at the premises were also shown to coincide with elevated levels of PM10 measured at the monitoring station.

Due to the evidence found, formal action was taken against the foundry by the council in 2004/05, with the foundry later ceasing trading in 2005.

Monitoring of the area has found no exceedances of the annual average air quality objective for PM10 (40 micrograms per cubic metre) or the 24-hour objective (no more than 35 exceedances during a year of 50 micrograms per cubic metre) since 2005.


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