Air quality banding and objectives

Air Quality Banding

Most healthy people do not normally notice any health effects from air pollution, except when pollution levels are 'Very High'. Some people are more sensitive to pollution and find that health effects occur when pollution levels are 'Moderate' or 'High'. Sensitive people include those with heart conditions or lung diseases, including asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Advice for each band is shown below.

Low (1-3) - Health effects are unlikely to be noticed, even by people who know they are sensitive to air pollution.

Moderate (4-6) - Mild health effects are unlikely to require any action, but may be noticed by people who are sensitive to pollution.

High (7-9) - Sensitive people may notice significant health effects, and may have to take action to reduce their symptoms. This may include spending less time outdoors and avoiding strenuous exercise. Asthmatics will find that their 'reliever' inhaler is likely to reduce the effects of pollution on their lungs.

Very High (10) - Sensitive people are likely to notice significant health effects, and may have to take action to reduce their symptoms. This may include spending less time outdoors and avoiding strenuous exercise. Asthmatics will find that their 'reliever' inhaler is likely to reduce the effects of pollution on their lungs. If you find that your symptoms are getting worse, seek medical advice. Healthy people, who do not normally notice any effects from air pollution, may have symptoms such as coughing and irritation to eyes, nose and throat.

» find out more about air quality banding.

Air Quality Objectives

The National Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales (2000) set objective pollution levels to be achieved by a certain date. These are shown in the following table.

 

A panel of air quality and health experts agreed these objectives. If the pollution levels are below these objectives, then no pollution related health problems should be experienced even by those who are sensitive to pollution effects.