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Air quality strategy

In the UK, national, regional and local government all have a role to play in managing air quality.

Council policies

Local authorities have to assess air quality in their areas against set objectives for seven pollutants. 

Where it is unlikely that one or more of the objectives will be met, the local authority must declare an air quality management area (AQMA) and produce an action plan to describe the steps to be taken to meet the air quality objectives.

In August 2000, we completed a review showing that despite a steady improvement of air quality in Islington, the objectives for two pollutants - nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter of 10 microns diameter (PM10) - were not likely to be achieved. 

As a consequence we declared an AQMA across a large part of the borough in 2001, which was expanded to the whole of the borough in 2003. This AQMA is still in place.

Our Air Quality Strategy 2019 - 2023 sets out the actions we are committed to take to reduce air pollution.

We also produce annual reports showing our progress in improving air quality and meeting our obligations in the air quality strategy. The strategy and action plans can be found at the bottom of this page.

Air quality is also integrated into wider council policies such as transport and planning to ensure a coordinated approach.

London policies

London has the worst levels of pollution in the UK. The Mayor of London has additional powers to help tackle air pollution and ensure a joined-up approach is taken across all boroughs. 

Examples of some measures are:

  • Emissions Surcharge (ES)/ T-Charge: from October 2017 a £10 charge will apply to the most polluting vehicles entering central London. This will be on top of any congestion charges.
  • Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ): this will expand on the T-Charge and is due to be introduced in 2019. This will charge a larger number of polluting vehicles, be in place 24/7 and cover a larger area.
  • Low Emission Bus Zones: London buses will be retro-fitted and pure diesel vehicles phased out.

Our response to the ES and ULEZ consultations can be found at the bottom of the page.

National policies

The UK is legally required to reduce the concentration of a number of harmful air pollutants in outdoor air to set limits. Currently the country is struggling to meet these limits, especially for the pollutant nitrogen dioxide.

The government has to publish a national air quality strategy. This sets out UK air quality objectives and identifies policies and actions needed at national, regional and local levels.

In July 2017 the Government published a new national air quality plan to reduce nitrogen dioxide in the UK. Our response to the consultation on the draft of this plan (PDF file) can be found below.


More information on our air quality policies, yearly progress reports and consultation responses can be found on our documents page.

Air quality consultation documents

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