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Air quality

Air quality

Air quality is a phrase used to describe the concentrations of specific pollutants within the air that we breathe, and allows us to describe the air quality within a particular location.

Air quality monitoring stations

The Environmental Protection Unit managed 2 automated monitoring stations at Richmond Hill and Quarterbridge between 1997 and 2009, which were used to collect data from a rural and an urban location. Both of these stations recorded data for the following pollutants:

  • Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)
  • Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO)
  • Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM 2.5)
  • Ozone

The most recent results of the air quality monitoring at these 2 sites are available on the right. The monitoring stations were discontinued further to results indicating continued good air quality. The only occasional exception is of intermittent concern in respect of ozone whose souce is most likely the UK and therefore beyond the control of the IoM Government.

Air quality standards and objectives

The 2 automated stations at Richmond Hill and Quarterbridge reported data in accordance with the Isle of Man adopted air quality objectives. These are based on those standards detailed within the Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland issued by DEFRA (former DETR) in 2000.

The Isle of Man Air Quality Standard specifies objective concentrations and allowed exceedances for NO2, SO2, CO, PM10 and O3: Table 1, detailed below, summarises the objective concentrations and allowed exceedances relevant to each pollutant monitored at the automated monitoring stations:

Table 1: Isle of Man Air Quality Objective Concentrations and Allowed Exceedances

PollutantObjectiveMeasured asAllowed
 Concentration Exceedances per Year
Carbon Monoxide 10ppm Running 8 hour mean 0
Nitrogen Dioxide 105ppb 1 hour mean 18
  21ppb Annual Mean -
PM10 50ug/m3 24 Hour Mean 35
  40ug/m3 Annual Mean -
Sulphur Dioxide 132 ppb 1 hour mean 24
  47ppb 24 hour mean 3
  100ppb 15 minute mean 35
Ozone 50ppb Running 8 Hour mean 10
PM2.5 N/A - -

Oxides of nitrogen are important pollutants because they initiate a sequence of reactions leading to photochemical smog formation. It is therefore referred to as a photochemical pollutant i.e. reacts in light to form pollution products which are irritant to the eyes and mucous membranes of the throat, nose and lung, as well as forming a major role in the formation of low level pollutant ozone.

During 1997 to 2009, data was collected from 4 sites within Douglas and reported within the UK Nitrogen Dioxide Network Study managed by netcen.

The air quality website, link right, provides information relating to archived UK national air quality information.

For further air quality information, please contact simon.renton@gov.im or tel: +44 1624 685892.

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