Air Quality

Local Air Quality Management

Test Valley Borough Council carries out regular reviews of local air quality and monitors nitrogen dioxide at various sites around the borough. The main purpose of these reviews is to identify any areas where statutory Air Quality Standards might be exceeded. A series of air quality reports, prepared in accordance with the Council's obligations under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, are available on this website.

Air pollution nuisance problems

The Council enforces various legal provisions to deal with certain types of air pollution. The powers available to the Council do not cover road traffic pollution but do cover most other types of air pollution which is either harmful to health or a nuisance. Typical problems include garden bonfire smoke, dark smoke emissions from industrial installations and dust emissions from construction sites.

Please see Nuisance Problems for details on the law of nuisances, how to make a complaint about an air pollution problem, and how we handle such complaints.

Air Pollution Arising from Wood-Burning Stoves and Open Fires

The use of open fires and wood-burning stoves has risen in popularity over recent years.  The Government’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has reported a link between the increased use of open fires and wood-burning stoves and an increase in emissions of fine particulate matter which the smoke is made up of.   

In November 2017, DEFRA reported that domestic wood and coal burning is jointly the single largest contributor to harmful particulate matter emissions in the UK, comprising almost 40% in 2015.  This compares to particulate emissions from industrial combustion of 17% and road transport of 13%.  The tiny particles in smoke can cause a range of health impacts such as breathing problems and exacerbating asthma as well as contributing to other health conditions.

As part of the Government’s strategy to tackle air pollution, DEFRA is promoting the responsible and efficient use of open fires and wood-burning stoves.  To do this, DEFRA has endorsed  the following two publications which outline the simple steps can be taken to reduce the environmental and health impacts of their use: 

The Open Fires and Wood-Burning Stoves leaflet has been produced by the DEFRA and provides some basic advice which should ensure that burning wood and coal minimises the impact of your fire on the local environment, as well as maximising fuel efficiency and reducing maintenance.

The second leaflet entitled ‘We All Breathe the Same Air’ and has been produced by the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps and provides detailed practical advice for the most efficient use of wood-burning stoves and open fires.

Sources of further information about air pollution

Links to a wide range information, policies and websites regarding air pollution and  nuisance are available in the downloads on this page.  If you would  like copies of any earlier reports, please contact the Environmental Protection Team (details below).

For daily information call the Air Quality Bulletin Service Freephone 0800 556677 or see

For further information please contact:

The Environmental Protection Team
Tel: 01264 368000