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Air quality


The Environment Act 1995 defined the process of Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) and gave us a duty to review air quality in our area. We use continuous analysers and passive diffusion tubes to monitor air quality at several locations within the borough.

Read our 2022 Annual Status Report (PDF) [2MB] (opens new window)

Results are compared to UK Air Quality Objectives; see the downloads at the bottom of this page.

Air quality monitoring

Air Quality Action Plan consultation

This draft Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) has been produced as part of the council's statutory duties as required by the Local Air Quality Management Framework. It outlines the proposed actions that will be taken to improve air quality in St Helens Borough for the period 2024-2029, replacing the previous Action Plan of 2013-2020. 

The council is seeking views on the 26 actions proposed and if there any additional ideas that should also be considered whether in the plan or in future revisions.  

To let us know what you think, we have a short questionnaire asking your views on each of the proposed actions plus we are seeking views on any actions that we have not considered. We have asked for postcode information for us to assess how many respondents live in, or close to Air Quality Management Areas, and also the main type of transport that you use. 

Please read the draft  Air Quality Action Plan (PDF) [7MB] (opens new window) and complete the consultation survey. The consultation closes on Friday 2 February 2024.

Thank you for taking the time to take part.


To monitor air pollution in St Helens, we currently have four 'real-time' continuous monitors and a network of 32 diffusion tubes. The links below give access to the current monitoring data.

Within the borough of St Helens here are our diffusion tube locations.


Air Quality Management Areas

On 30 April 2009, we declared Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) at two locations within the borough where the annual mean objective for nitrogen dioxide will not be met. This includes the M6 AQMA and the High Street AQMA. 

A further two AQMAs were declared at Borough Road and Reflection Court on the Linkway on 30 November 2011 as the annual mean objective for nitrogen dioxide is not being met. Current details of the locations can be found below:

1.  M6 AQMA (PDF) [725KB] (opens new window)  - Encompasses a strip either side of the M6 motorway within the unitary boundary of St Helens Borough Council.

2.  Air Quality - High Street AQMA (PDF) [1MB] (opens new window)  - Part of the A49 in Newton-le-Willows and extends between the junctions with Ashton Road and Church Street.

3.  Air Quality - Borough Road AQMA (PDF) [835KB] (opens new window)  - Borough Road, St Helens between the junctions of Westfield Street and Prescot Road, including 5-9 Alexandra Drive and 1-17 Prescot Road.

4.  Air Quality - Linkway Reflection Court AQMA (PDF) [896KB] (opens new window)  - Reflection Court, Linkway West, St Helens.

Once an AQMA has been declared, we are required to complete a further assessment within 12 months of designating the AQMA. This document aims to confirm the exceedance, define what improvements are needed, and provide information on source apportionment. The findings of the further assessment may lead to amendments in the AQMA.

A further assessment for AQMAs 1 and 2 was undertaken and can be found in the 'Downloads' section of this page.

After declaration, we should formulate and publish an action plan to set out objectives to reduce pollutant levels and meet the air quality objectives. The action plan may cover a larger area than the AQMA itself. Powers that are available to us include land use planning, the regulation of industrial emissions and traffic management.

A period of consultation will follow these declarations. This will be publicised locally and on the council website, giving members of the public their say on air quality issues within the designated areas. The outcomes of the consultation will be used within the action plan to design and deliver cost-effective measures to improve air quality within the borough.

Review and assessment process

The review process takes a phased approach on a three-yearly cycle. Review and Assessment reports are produced every three years and, during the interim, progress reports are intended to provide consistency.

We undertook our first Review and Assessment (R&A) in 1999/2000. This showed that all Air Quality Objectives would be met by the due dates and we would not need to declare any Air Quality Management Areas.

If the review process identifies a risk that an objective will be exceeded at a location with relevant public exposure, the local authority is required to undertake a detailed assessment. This is to determine, with reasonable certainty, if a likely exceedance will occur. If this is found to be the case, the area found to be exceeding the objectives would be declared as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

Contact Environmental Health

Tel: 01744 676789 or contact us online.