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Air Quality Statistics in the UK, 1987 to 2014

News published: 22/05/2015

Statistical Release: 25 April 2015

Most air quality statistics up to and including 2014 are now finalised. These statistics firstly provide an indication of long-term trends in UK levels of pollution from particulate matter (PM10) and ozone (O3), the two pollutants thought to have the greatest health impacts. They also include the number of days on which levels of any one of a set of five pollutants were "moderate" or higher, according to the UK Daily Air Quality Index (DAQI).

The full Defra Statistical Release is available for download, highlights are as follows:

  • Urban background and roadside particulate pollution has shown long-term improvement with small decreases in concentration shown from 2013 to 2014.
  • There were on average fewer days of Moderate or higher pollution at urban pollution monitoring sites in 2014 compared with 2013. There is a long-term decline in days of Moderate or higher pollution at urban sites.
  • There were on average fewer days of Moderate or higher pollution at rural pollution monitoring sites in 2014 compared with 2013, reversing the small increase in the previous year. However, there is a great deal of year-on-year variability and there is no clear long-term trend.
  • Urban background ozone pollution has remained fairly stable between 2003 and 2014, although concentrations have shown a long-term increase since monitoring began. Rural background ozone pollution has shown no clear long-term trend and stayed level at 66 µg m-3 in 2014.
  • The main drivers of the average number of days when air pollution is Moderate or higher are particulate matter and ozone, for urban and rural pollution monitoring sites in the UK respectively.

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