The Environment Act 1995 (Part IV) requires that all local authorities carry out periodic reviews of the current and likely future air quality in their area. These reviews follow Government guidance that set health-based air quality objectives for a number of key pollutants and target dates for their achievement. The main pollutants of relevance currently for East Suffolk are nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ) and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10 ).
Recently the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has carried out a review of Local Air Quality Management and as a consequence has made changes to guidance and the reporting obligation of UK local authorities. The main changes introduced in the new Policy Guidance (PG16) 2016 result in a shift of focus, with emphasis now being placed on reporting action taken to improve air quality with less of a monitoring role. The annual report on local air quality that local authorities are required to draft and submit to Defra for approval, will now have a greater focus placed on what is being done locally to improve air quality and in particular reducing exposure to micro particulate (PM2.5).
The main sources of the pollutants in the East Suffolk district are emissions from road traffic, industrial processes, biomass combustion, construction sites and significant local commercial operations such as the Port of Felixstowe.