Renfrewshire Council

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Air quality

Local Air Quality Management (LAQM)

Air pollution can cause harmful effects on human health and the natural and built environment. There are numerous sources of air pollutants including industry, transport, commercial and domestic sources. Whilst there have been considerable improvements in air quality over the last 60 years through regulation and concerted action on these sources, air pollution continues to affect certain areas of the UK.

In accordance with the Environment Act 1995, local authorities have a statutory duty to regularly review, assess and report on air quality within their area, a process termed Local Air Quality Management (LAQM). LAQM is designed to identify exceedences of statutory air quality objectives which have been set by the Scottish Government and to enable local authorities to implement action plans to improve air quality within their area.

Communities, Housing and Planning manage this process in Renfrewshire by:

  • maintaining a network of air quality monitoring sites;
  • annually reviewing and assessing air quality and submitting reports to the Scottish Government;
  • declaring Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) where necessary; and
  • developing and implementing action plans detailing how air quality objectives will be met in AQMAs.

The most recent LAQM reports can be found in the 'related documents' section of this page. 

If you require previous reports including those relevant to the declaration of the Paisley Town Centre AQMA then please contact Communities, Housing and Planning on the contact details below. 

Air quality within Renfrewshire

The pollutants of concern within Renfrewshire are particulate matter (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Both of these pollutants are known to worsen respiratory conditions particularly in the old, young and people with existing underlying health problems.

Whilst air quality as a whole in Renfrewshire is good, the levels of these pollutants within certain areas of Paisley town centre exceed the statutory air quality objective levels and an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) covering the majority of the town centre was declared in 2009. Road vehicle emissions are a main source of these pollutants and the areas of exceedences within Paisley town centre are all located at busy roads and junctions.

A map of the AQMA can be found in the related documents.

Once an AQMA is declared the Council has a statutory duty to prepare an Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP).  The purpose of this plan is to set out measures the Council will take forward to help improve air quality and work towards meeting the statutory air quality objective levels. The Paisley Town Centre AQAP was originally published in 2013 and is continually reviewed by Community Resources. 

Air quality monitoring

Monitoring of local air quality is an integral part of the Local Air Quality Management process. Communities, Housing and Planning currently operate three automatic monitoring stations which continuously monitor air quality and are located within Paisley and Renfrew.

  • Paisley Gordon St - monitoring of NO2 and PM10 commenced at this location in May 2004. The monitor is located within the Paisley Town Centre AQMA.
  • Paisley St James St - monitoring of PM10 commenced in August 2010. The monitor is located within the Paisley Town Centre AQMA.
  • Renfrew Cockels Loan - monitoring of NO2 and PM10 commenced in September 2013. The monitor is located on an open area of ground between the M8 and Cockels Loan and specifically measures air quality levels adjacent to the M8 motorway.

Further information including current pollutant levels at the automatic monitoring sites can be found on the Scottish Government's air quality website. 

In addition to the automatic monitoring stations the council also maintains a network of nitrogen dioxide diffusion tubes located throughout the council area. 

Decommissioned Central Road, Paisley & Glasgow Airport continuous monitoring stations

Central Road in Paisley town centre was a main bus stop and HGV delivery area situated below a multi-storey car park with high pollutant levels and poor air flow and dispersion. A continuous monitor measuring nitrogen dioxide had been in operation there since 2004.

In 2005 the road was declared an AQMA for exceedances of the NO2 1-hour mean objective as it was considered that relevant exposure may occur by members of the public waiting for buses. However a review of this site in 2014 confirmed that the location was no longer considered representative of an area of relevant exposure in terms of this objective. All bus services, with the exception of a Sunday night service, had been removed from Central Road and there was now no reason for anyone to spend time in this area. The monitor at this site was decommissioned and may be moved to a more suitable alternative location. The Scottish Government, their technical advisors and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) agreed with this conclusion.

With regards to the Glasgow Airport continuous monitor, monitoring of nitrogen dioxide levels commenced in May 2004. Pollutant levels at the monitor which is located within the airport grounds have historically always been low, thus the decision has been made to consider moving the monitor to another location where air quality is of concern. 

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