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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]

We are trialling a network of automatic air quality monitors across the Borough, these measure Nitrogen Dioxide and Particulate Matter. In a joint project with South Ribble Borough Council we are making the data more accessible. As this is a new project, comments are welcome on how useful you find this and how we can improve the accessibility. To view the readings click below: 

Chorley Air Quality Monitor Data 


Clean Air Day and Clean Air Night

Air Quality Reports

Particulate Pollution


Smoke Control Areas

Indoor Air Quality

Nuisance Complaints and to Report Issues

Planning and the Local Plan

UK Air

Clean Air Day and Clean Air Night

Clean Air Day is the UK's largest campaign on air pollution and happens in June every year. The theme for 2024 is - "Clean up our air to look after your mind this #CleanAirDay".

The campaign focuses 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.

Clean Air Night was new for January 2024 to complement Clean Air Day. This year focused on some of the myths about wood and solid fuel burning, with information to highlight how it can be a significant source of air pollution that harms our health and the environment.

To find out more visit the Clean Air Hub 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.

Annual Status Reports

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 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]   DEFRA Appraisal - 2023 Annual Status Report (Word doc) [225KB]

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]

Particulate Matter Report

This report is additional to the ASR and looks at the data collected from our network of particulate monitors. The first report covers data collected in 2022.

2022 Particulate Matter Report (Word doc) [1MB]

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

Understanding the numbers - why do air quality figures sometimes differ dependant on what source you use?

There are many avenues to gain air quality data for specific areas.

Some people use mobile apps, others collect their own data from their own air quality monitors while others seek our data from our portal

Chorley Air Quality Monitor Data

We have a specific way in which we collect, process and publish our air quality data. This makes the figures we publish as accurate as possible.

When our air quality data is collected by our 42 diffusion tubes and 3 real time monitors across the borough, we process the raw data to collect an average figure over time, and then also apply a correction factor.

There are many things which can affect the readings of an air quality monitor. For example, the real time air quality monitors use sensitive lasers to measure the particulate pollution in the surrounding air and can be affected by external changes. An example of this could be a person or persons passing under a monitor smoking a cigarette. Our correction factor allows for these changes then takes an overall average of the levels of particulate and nitrogen pollution in the air.

Often, other sources which publish air quality data use only the raw data, with no correction factors, meaning it may not be a true reflection of the overall levels of air pollution from particulates and nitrogen oxides.

Our data is collected, processed and published in line with national guidelines.

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Particulate Pollution

Did you know we have invested in equipment to monitor levels of particulate air pollution? Follow the link at the top of the page to see the real time readings. 

Traffic, burning (including solid fuels and gas) and agricultural activities release tiny particles known as particulate matter (PM). Particulate matter pollution is made up of different sized particles. Small particle air pollution (PM2.5) has more health effects.  

PM pollution can cause breathing difficulties or increased asthma attacks, as well as contributing to other health conditions, including heart disease and stroke. People with lung or 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 exposure to particulate matter there are some things you can try:

  • When cooking with gas use the extractor hood, opening a window can also significantly reduce indoor exposure.
  • Open a window too if you regularly burn candles and incense to reduce indoor PM. 
  • Choosing low impact transport such as, trains, buses, cycling, wheeling, walking or car shares, can reduce the PM contribution from traffic.
  • Instead of bonfires, try composting or the council's garden waste collection service.  
  • If you have a solid-fuel 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. The Government's 2019 Clean Air Strategy estimates domestic solid fuel burning is responsible for 38% of PM2.5 pollution in the UK.
  • Remember though it is important to heat your home appropriately to remain safe and healthy
  • Our climate webpage has tips on energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

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Smoke and Burning

Did you know that your stove or open fire produces tiny, harmful particles that are damaging to your health?

In an hour, wood burning produces the same harmful PM2.5 air pollution as 6 HGVs (Air Quality Expert Group (2017), Potential Air Quality Impacts from Biomass Combustion).

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.
  • Look out for the 'Ready to Burn' logo on fuel packaging.
  • 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) were no longer be allowed to be sold. Your supplier should advise you on the best alternative manufactured solid fuel to switch to.
  • People with log burners and open fires can still use up what they have, but are now 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, see Chorley smoke control areas map (PDF) [3MB] .

Amendments to Smoke Control Area enforcement under the Environment Act 2021 came into effect on 1st May 2022. The updated rules are available on the UK Government website, rules on Smoke Control Areas. In summary, the legislation for SCAs is:

  1. If burning a 'controlled'/'unauthorised' fuel (e.g. wood), an appropriate DEFRA approved appliance must be used Link to DEFRFA approved appliances.
  2. If using other appliances (i.e. not DEFRA approved): smokeless' fuels such as anthracite, semi-anthracite, gas or low volatile steam; or approved manufactured solid fuels can be used Link to DEFRFA approved fuels.
  3. Any smoke is subject to a financial penalty in a smoke control area.

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. Our input is an important factor in shaping planning policies that are right for our communities and to ensure sustainable development, in relation to climate change, air quality and biodiversity. 

We work closely with Public Health colleagues at Lancashire County Council to take action to reduce the health impacts of air pollution. Lancashire County Council are responsible for education, transport planning, highway maintenance, public health and procuring local vehicle fleets, to support county wide efforts to improve air quality. 

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UK Air

UK Air is a website from DEFRA where you can get a local air pollution forecast and find more resources on air quality data and science. 

Find out more on the UK Air website.

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