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Air quality

Air Quality is a priority for Chorley Council as it is an important factor in preserving and improving health and wellbeing and reducing harm to health and the environment. As a Council we are delivering a range of environmental and biodiversity-enhancing measures to promote clean air, reduce carbon emissions and enable more sustainable ways of travel.

Our approach to air quality is outlined in our Clean Air Strategy 2022 (Word doc) [2MB] .

Clean Air Day

Air Quality Reports

Smoke and Particulate Pollution

Smoke Control Areas

Indoor Air Quality

Nuisance Complaints and to Report Issues

Planning and the Local Plan

Clean Air Day

Clean Air Day, the UK's largest campaign on air pollution is happening on Thursday 15 June 2023. The theme is - "Clean up our air to look after your mind this #CleanAirDay".

The campaign is focusing on the fact that cleaning up our air is good for us in many ways: it not only benefits our physical health and the environment, but can also protect our mental and brain health.

To get involved, visit the Clean Air Day website.

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Air Quality Reports

The main pollutants of concern in Chorley are Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM). Air quality is monitored by Environmental Health, using a network of passive diffusion tubes at strategic locations across the Borough. We are also trialling continuous particulate monitors to improve the monitoring programme. 

The good news is that the monitoring and modelling data shows that air quality across Chorley complies with the current National Air Quality Objectives. 

The legislative framework for meeting our Air Quality objectives was laid down under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, and updated by The Environment Act 2021, which includes new responsibilities for local authorities. The National Objectives are the standards by which we monitor and assess air quality data. The data we rely on is required to meet a rigorous independent testing framework with stringent quality assurance and quality control procedures.

Each year we produce an Annual Status Report (ASR) which is submitted to DEFRA for approval and commenting. It gives a update on our air quality monitoring and trends in Chorley, and shows the progress of measures implemented to improve air quality by Chorley Council, local partners and other agencies. They are normally publicly available by the August following the end of the previous calendar year. 

You can read the most recent reports below:

2023 Annual Status Report (ASR) (Word doc) [3MB]

2022 Annual Status Report (ASR) (PDF) [1MB]   DEFRA Appraisal - 2022 Annual Status Report (PDF) [209KB]

2021 Annual Status Report (ASR) (PDF) [1MB]

2020 Annual Status Report (ASR) (PDF) [1MB]

2019 Annual Status Report (ASR) (PDF) [1MB]

For queries on Air Quality or to request a Word document version of the ASR please contact Environmental Health by email to

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Smoke and Particulate Pollution

Traffic and burning release tiny particles known as particulate matter (PM2.5). These can cause breathing difficulties, such as asthma attacks, and contribute to other health conditions, including heart disease and stroke. People already suffering from lung and heart problems are more likely to be affected, along with older people, pregnant women and their unborn babies, and very young children.

To reduce the risk and levels of particulates there are some things you can try:

  • Choose low impact transport such as, trains, buses, cycling, wheeling, walking or car shares.
  • Instead of bonfires, try composting or the council's garden waste collection service.  
  • Check our webpage on sustainable transport and other environmentally friendly ideas.
  • If you have a stove or fireplace can you burn better or reduce how much you burn? Solid fuel burning appliances such as wood stoves and coal fires contribute to particulate matter and other pollutant emissions.  According to the Government's 2019 Clean Air Strategy, domestic solid fuel is responsible for 38% of PM2.5 pollution in the UK.

If you use a log burner or stove at home there are things you can do to ensure you are using it as efficiently as possible. It could mean you end up burning less and saving money, without affecting the heat output:

  • Install a Carbon Monoxide detector. 
  • Burn dry, seasoned wood. Avoid burning plastics or treated waste wood.
  • Store your wood in a dry and well ventilated area. 
  • Sweep your chimney regularly. A professional sweep can also advise you on using your appliance. 
  • Contact your stove manufacturer or installer for bespoke operating advice. 
  • If you have an older or inefficient stove or one that's too big, consider replacing it with a modern efficient model. 
  • You can find more information on the DEFRA Burn Better website and Burn right website.

Restrictions on the sale of firewood, manufactured solid fuels and coal sold for combustion in domestic premises

The sale of traditional house coal and bags of 'wet' or 'unseasoned' wood is now banned in the UK. Check for the government-approved 'Ready To Burn' logo when buying small bags of firewood and solid fuel briquettes. This means it has a low moisture content, so it burns more efficiently with less harmful smoke and air pollution. It is also better for stoves, fireplaces and chimneys as well as reducing fuel and maintenance costs.

The Air Quality (Domestic Solid Fuels Standards) (England) Regulations 2020 place restrictions on fuel sold for combustion in domestic premises from 01 May 2021:

  • Firewood sold in units of less than 2 cubic metres must be certified by the 'Ready To Burn' and the certification details and scheme logo must be attached to the packaging and clearly displayed at the point of sale.
  • If firewood is sold in units of more than 2 cubic metres, customers must be provided with a notice that explains how to dry, store and check the moisture of the wood before it is used.
  • All manufactured solid fuels must be certified by the Ready To Burn Scheme
  • Some fuels are exempt from the certification requirements including: coffee logs, olive logs, wine logs and fuels mostly made of wheat husks, straw, miscanthus, bamboo or compressed food waste.

Do you use coal at home?

  • From 1st May 2023 "traditional house coal" or "bituminous coal" (these are the ones that produce a lot of smoke) will no longer be allowed to be sold. Your supplier should advise you on the best alternative manufactured solid fuel to switch to.
  • Only Approved Coal Merchants can legally sell traditional house coal (bituminous coal) in England until 30 April 2023. It must be sold loose or in unsealed bags directly to the customer. It will be illegal to sell bagged coal.
  • People with log burners and open fires can still use them, but will be required to buy cleaner alternative fuels such as dry wood and manufactured solid fuels which produce less smoke.
  • Low smoke ('smokeless') fuels may still be available. Coal merchants and retailers can continue to sell: anthracite coal, semi-anthracite coal and low volatile steam coal.
  • The new rules apply to everyone, including places not covered by a smoke control area.

Further information is available from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Ready To Burn consumer leaflet

Retailers can download our  Ready to Burn Flier (PDF) [98KB] for more information.

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Smoke Control Areas

To protect air quality and the health of residents, some areas of Chorley have been designated smoke control areas. For more information, please see the section on Noise, nuisance and environmental complaints.

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Indoor Air Quality

We do not monitor indoor air quality as part of our monitoring programme. However, there is support and information available if you have concerns about this. 

For housing (including damp and mould), further information can be found on our Housing Standards webpage.

Workplace air quality is generally the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), who provide further information via the Health and Safety Executive website..

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Nuisance Complaints

Please note that if you have a current issue, which involves smoke from bonfires, chimneys, construction and demolition sites; emissions of dust/gases from industrial or commercial property, which affect you and your home, you can make a complaint.

View more information on how to make a noise and nuisance complaint.

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Planning and the Local Plan

We request air quality assessments for planning applications where the development may impact on air quality or where the development is close to an existing source of air pollution and may require mitigation measures as part of the planning conditions.

A key action for us and the neighbouring local authorities of Preston City Council and South Ribble Borough Council is the revision and updating of the Central Lancashire Local Plan. There will be further consultations coming on the development of the new Local Plan, these will be publicised when they are open. 

The production of the new Central Lancashire Local Plan and our input into that process is an immensely important factor in shaping planning policies that are right for our communities and to ensure sustainable development. 

Officers from all three authorities have been providing input and expertise in relation to policies on climate change, air quality and biodiversity. There is a particular focus on sustainable development, energy generation and conservation, sustainable transport options and the infrastructure inclusions necessary to enable sustainable choices. 

This ambitious plan will then support the individual authorities to implement planning guidance that seeks to minimise any negative impact of development on air quality and strive to improve air quality.

We work closely with Public Health colleagues at Lancashire County Council. Working with district councils, Lancashire County Council has an important role to play in taking action to reduce these health impacts of air pollution. Responsible for education, transport planning, network management, highway maintenance, public health and procuring local vehicle fleets, there are many ways Lancashire County Council supports local and county wide efforts to improve air quality. 

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