Air Quality

Air quality has undoubtedly improved greatly since the deadly smogs of the mid 20th century that killed so many. However, air pollution in the UK still significantly reduces average life expectancy, causes many extra admissions to hospitals and damages the natural environment


We are fortunate in Torridge to enjoy air quality that is generally very good.  The Council is determined to keep it that way and to secure further improvements wherever possible.

The Environmental Protection Team works to monitor and improve local air quality;  we also investigate complaints.


Air quality is an issue of public concern wherever you live.  In recent years, the related issue of 'climate change' has come to the fore.  Council's are increasingly being relied on to drive reductions in climate forcing emissions and to lessen the impacts that Climate Change has on our lives.

The Council has adopted an pdf icon Air Quality Strategy [1009kb] setting out what it is doing with regard to safeguarding and improving air quality and how it will contribute to tackling Climate Change.  The Strategy includes specific recommendations for action that are designed to enhance collaboration between the various stakeholders and better coordinate efforts.


Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) is a regime set up by Government under the Environment Act 1995 Part IV and associated regulations. The LAQM process places an obligation on all local authorities to regularly review and assess air quality in their areas and to ensure specific air quality objectives are achieved. Where one or more air quality objective is considered likely to be exceeded the Local Authority must declare an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) to address the problem. Most of the objectives are concerned with the protection of human health, although some are designed to protect eco-systems and vegetation.

The pollutants for which objectives have been set are benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide, particulates (PM10) and sulphur dioxide.

The Council's Environmental Protection Team carries out the review and assessment process and produces regular reports on its findings. The latest review and assessment report for Torridge is available pdf icon here [3Mb].


Further information about the importance of good air quality is available from the Healthy Air website:  http://healthyair.org.uk/


Although the Council has no specific bye-laws to control bonfires, it has powers under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to act if it considers a bonfire a legal nuisance.

In built-up areas, having frequent bonfires is likely to upset neighbours.  Disposal of waste by burning is best avoided: composting of garden waste is recommended.

Material such as plastic and rubber should NEVER be burned owing because they are likely to create particularly hazardous emissions.

Please see downloads for a useful leaflet on bonfires or the section on Noise and other Statutory Nuisances for more information

Contaminated Land

Environmental Protection works to minimise the impact of land contamination on public health and to ensure that contamination issues are addressed when land is developed.

If you are concerned about possible land contamination, please contact the Environmental Protection Team with details of the location affected and any background information you can provide us with.

Contaminated Land Strategy

Since April 2000, local authorities have had a duty to manage contaminated land issues within their areas.  This duty was conferred by Part 2A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and associated Statutory Guidance.  The Act gives local authorities the lead role in dealing with contaminated land and requires them to publish a written strategy setting out how they will carry out their duties.

Torridge District Council published its contaminated land strategy in June 2001: Torridge District Council - Contaminated Land Inspection Strategy.  In April 2013 the 2001 strategy was reviewed and revised following publication of new Statutory Guidance.

pdf icon click here for a copy of the revised strategy [595kb]

For further information on the Council's Contaminated Land Strategy, please contact the Environmental Protection Team.

In accordance with section 78R of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, local authorities must maintain a register of all regulatory action we have undertaken in respect to the remediation of contaminated land.  To date, Torridge District Council has made no entry on this register.

Farm Waste, Slurry & Agricultural Odours

Odour from many agricultural operations is inevitable. Farmers should, however, minimise nuisance by following the DEFRA Codes of Good Agricultural Practice.

If you believe you are being unreasonably affected by agricultural activities please contact the Environmental Protection Team for further advice.

Certain matters, such as water pollution arising from farm wastes, are dealt with by the Environment Agency. They can be contacted on 03708 506506.