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Air quality in Durham City

Monitoring and detailed assessment of air quality across Durham City has determined levels of nitrogen dioxide from road traffic emissions, exceeds standards in National Air Quality Objectives and EU limits. We are taking steps to address this.

Air quality monitoring and assessment in Durham

Air quality monitoring is carried out at a number of locations in the city, including main transport routes. To see the locations see our air quality monitoring map. This monitoring provides a monthly average pollution concentration reading. 

We also currently operate a continuous air quality monitor at the junction of Hawthorn Terrace and Sutton Street (A690) and the results can be viewed on the Air Quality England website (see offsite links).

Because nitrogen dioxide levels have been identified as a problem, more detailed assessments of the air quality have been carried out. A detailed assessment for the following areas of Durham city can be downloaded below:

Work to assess dispersion levels of pollution in other areas of the city is now complete. The detailed assessments above provide information of dispersion of air quality pollutants across the city.

Declaration of an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in Durham City

An AQMA within the centre of Durham City that incorporated Highgate, Milburngate and the Gilesgate areas of the city was declared on 9 May 2011 after a consultation with local residents and other interested parties. A copy of the order 2011 can be downloaded below:

The full extent of the AQMA that was declared in 2011 is marked by a red boundary on the map and by a list of properties falling within the Durham City AQMA. Both of these are available to download below:

The outcome of the detailed assessment of air quality has determined levels of nitrogen dioxide in other areas of Durham City that are above the national and European air quality standards. Therefore the declared AQMA was extended in July 2014 to incorporate the western area of the city through the junctions at Crossgate Lights and Neville's Cross to the Stonebridge roundabout together with sections of Claypath and New Elvet. A copy of the 2014 order can be downloaded below, together with a map showing the full extent of the AQMA that was amended in 2014 is marked by a purple boundary:

What happens now that the AQMA has been declared?

Following the declaration of the AQMA in May 2011, a further assessment of the air quality was carried out that enabled us to identify the source of these emissions. The information has been used in determining solutions to address the air quality issues in the city. The further assessment report of air quality within the city centre can be found below:

The Air Quality Action Plan

An air quality action plan has been produced with key partners, the local community and with consideration of the results of a public consultation held last year. The plan identifies actions to reduce pollution levels and improve the standards of air quality across Durham City.

The  Icon for pdf Air Quality Action Plan for Durham City (PDF, 14.3mb)  was approved on 15 June 2016.

Further information

Please contact us using the details on this page:

  • for paper copies, or alternative formats, of any of the electronic reports on this page.
  • with any questions about air quality in Durham City or elsewhere in the county. 

Air quality reports prior to Unitary Authority in April 2009

The following reports were prepared by the former City of Durham Council:


Contact us
Pollution Control
03000 261 016
Our address is:
  • Environment, Health and Consumer Protect
  • Annand House
  • John Street North
  • Meadowfield
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH7 8RS
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