Air quality and planning applications

The whole of Oxford is an Air Quality Management Area.

Air quality can be a material consideration in the planning process for development proposals, particularly if the application may:

  • conflict with proposals in our Air Quality Action Plan;
  • lead to a deterioration in air quality as a direct result of the proposal;
  • increase human exposure in areas of existing poor air quality.

We have a legal duty to pursue the air quality objectives at all locations in the city. As a result, we may reject, or require amendments to proposals which are considered likely to result in a significant deterioration in air quality and/or which are likely to increase exposure in existing areas of poor air quality.

In considering the impact on local air quality the following aspects of the proposed development will be considered:

  • Existing air quality
  • Impact on local air quality (including the impact of additional traffic movements or new emissions sources).
  • Proposed measures for mitigating the air quality impact of traffic and other emissions sources (e.g. boiler plant) and the compatibility of these measures with the Air Quality Action Plan.
  • Level of increased exposure to air pollutants by members of the public  taking into account all mitigation measures proposed.
  • Design measures proposed to limit public exposure to air pollutants such as distance of facades from roads; orientation of habitable rooms and provision of ventilation.

Air Quality Impact Assessment

An Air Quality Impact Assessment may be required before an application can be determined. Developments which are likely to significantly affect local traffic volumes, traffic composition or new developments built close to existing busy road traffic are most likely to require an assessment,.

If you are unsure what information you need to submit with a planning application you should contact us before making your application.

Further information

Planning Practice Guidance on Air Quality within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is available on the Planning Practice Guidance website.

We have produced guidance on  the following:

  • Biomass Boilers
  • Chimney height approvals
  • Combined Heat and Power Plant