Air Quality Standards and Targets

Key Legislation:

For more detail on the Legislation relevant to this page, please use the following links:

Supporting Legislation:
Guidance Notes:
Consent Needed: Activities listed under the IPPC Regulations will require IPPC Permit(s). No specific consent is required  for oil and gas installations under the requirements of the Local Air Quality Management Strategies (LAQMS), however air quality management is integrated with the planning system within local authorities and impacts on air quality both from process and also transport related emissions are likely to be of ‘material consideration’ within any planning decision.In order to address air quality issues with the operation of existing, or whilst seeking permission for new onshore oil and gas infrastructure the local authority may require the application of air quality management measures (PDF document) for individual facilities; such as Sustainable Travel Plans.
How to Apply: See IPPC Permits.
Who to Apply to: See IPPC Permits.
When to Apply: See IPPC Permits.
Air quality objectives: Air quality objectives are defined for the following key air pollutants: benzene, 1-3 butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM10) and sulphur dioxide.These standards relate to background concentrations of these key pollutants and not to emission levels from any individual process or facility. As such there are no standards within the Air Quality set of Regulations which apply specifically to the contribution of oil and gas installations to these background concentrations.


LAQM Progress Reports: Each Local Authority is responsible for monitoring and reporting on their performance against these standards in the LAQM: Progress Reports.
LAQM Progress Reports Each Local Authority is responsible for monitoring and reporting on their performance against these standards in the LAQM: Progress Reports.
Exceedance of Air Quality Objectives: Where Local Air Quality Monitoring identifies an exceedance or risk of exceedance of the air quality objective(s) for any of the key air pollutants identified within the regulations, the Local Authority has the power to designate and Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).The vast majority of the action plan tools available to local authorities are related to the control of transport related emissions and can be applied to transport operations of oil and gas installations in the same way as any other business operating in the Local Authority Area.
LAQM Progress Reports: LAQM reports are to be updated on a 3 yearly cycle of review and assessment.
Decision (EU) 2018/1522 This decision lays down a common format for national air pollution control programmes under Directive (EU) 2016/2284 on the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants.
Draft Clean Air Strategy 2018 The draft Clean Air Strategy outlines ambitions to reduce overall air pollution and make our air healthier to breath, protect nature and boost the economy.
It highlights the importance of effective co-operation with the devolved administrations and sets out actions already underway in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to cut air pollution right across the UK. It is currently under consultation.
Updated Energy and Emissions projections: 2015 A report detailing projections of the UK emissions performance against national greenhouse gas targets under existing policies has been released by DECC. It includes projections of the demand for each type of fuel for different sectors of the economy. The report includes projected energy demand for electricity and indicates what mix of generation will meet it (link here).
Local Air Quality Management review: changes to guidance and reporting This consultation has concluded and the summary of responses is available here.
The Carbon Capture Readiness (Electricity Generating Stations) Regulations 2013: These Regulations implement Article 36 of Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control).Article 36 of the 2010 Directive replicates the requirements of Article 9a of Directive 2001/80/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants.Further details are available from the UK Government’s Legislative website (PDF document).These regulations came into force on 25 November 2013.
UK rallies 12 EU countries behind backloading twin track EU-ETS reform: In July 2013, Energy and Environment Ministers from 12 EU Member States issued a joint statement calling for MEPs to support the ‘backloading’ proposals due to be voted on in Strasbourg on 3 July 2013, and for the EC to bring forward legislative proposals in delivering structural reform of the EU-ETS by the end of the year. Further details are available on the UK Government’s website.
Transitional National Plan (TNP): quarterly register
The TNP scheme allows large combustion plants (with a thermal rating equal to or greater than 50 megawatts) first licensed before 27 November 2002 to trade their annual allowances for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter (dust) with other large combustion plants within the TNP scheme.