Within Somerset there are four district councils and they are responsible for the monitoring of air quality in their areas, and drawing up action plans to address pollution issues.
You can see the latest and historical air quality reports, and action plans for Air Quality Management Areas on the district council websites.
If you are experiencing problems in your locality from smoke, dust or similar emissions from specific premises or houses, you can report them as nuisances to your district council which will investigate and take action as appropriate.
Similarly, if you are experiencing problems with quarry dust or agricultural odours, report in the first instance to your district council. Some premises are regulated by the Environment Agency, but your council will be able to advise if that is the case.
Air Quality Management Areas
DEFRA’s webpages on the Air Quality Management Areas in Taunton and Yeovil:
How we monitor air quality in Somerset
There is one automated pollution monitor in Somerset forming part of the national network. It is in rural south Somerset, and intended to provide background rural readings.
In May 2022 we installed five new Zephyr air quality monitors which provide near real time data on 6 pollutants: nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and three sizes of particulate, PM1, PM2.5 and PM10. Two are located in Taunton, on East Reach and North Street, two in Yeovil on Sherborne Road and Bond Street, and one in Frome on Portway. These monitors provide readings every 10 minutes, enabling a detailed understanding of factors effecting localised pollution levels to help inform possible interventions to reduce exposure. We are currently exploring how best to enable public access through this website to the latest readings.
There are also automated monitors in Bridgwater, located on the major transport routes and checking particulate pollution levels as part of the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station project.
In addition, there is monitoring for nitrogen dioxide which is carried out using diffusion tubes in numerous locations around the county. These are left in place for a month at a time and then sent off for analysis. The annual mean (average) reading is then calculated for each location. Traffic and weather conditions result in large variations in short term levels of nitrogen dioxide, but these do not exceed the statutory limit.
Full details of the previous year’s monitoring are published annually by the district councils on their websites.