Air quality in Dorset is generally good although there are certain 'hotspots' where standards fail to meet national air quality objectives. As part of our statutory duties, we undertake a regular programme to monitor and review air quality in our areas. We are required to submit Annual Status Reports to the government. 

Air quality reports in Dorset areas

Annual Status Reports are published in the summer for the previous year’s data. This data is processed, meaning it can be used to draw conclusions. Data for the current year is not available because it has not yet been processed. 
Results of air quality monitoring carried out prior to 2020 in:

In 2020 the former local authority areas were amalgamated into one report. 

The National Air Quality Standards

Most of our monitoring shows compliance with the national standards. The UK Air Quality Standards are set by central government for 7 pollutant parameters: 

  • benzene
  • 1.3 butadiene
  • particulates (PM10 and PM2.5)
  • carbon monoxide (CO)
  • sulphur dioxide (SO2)
  • nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
  • lead (Pb)

If an assessment of the air quality shows an exceedance or likely exceedance of the objective for one of these pollutants then we will have to carry out a more detailed assessment. 

If the exceedance is confirmed then we would declare an air quality management area (AQMA). An AQMA will define the area where the exceedance is occurring and will have an action plan to reduce the pollutant levels so that the objective is being complied with. 

Air Quality Management Areas

Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) have to be declared in areas where these government standards are not being met. AQMAs have been declared in the following locations due to high levels of the pollutant nitrogen dioxide: 

Radon in Dorset

The majority of Dorset is at low risk from radon, however there are some areas in the south of the county which the Health Protection Agency have identified as being at higher risk. 

Radon is a natural, odourless, radioactive gas which enters buildings from the ground where it is formed from the minute amounts of uranium that occur naturally in all rocks and soils. 

Radon levels indoors depend on the concentration of radon in the ground, the structure of the house, and the way it is heated and ventilated. Levels can vary widely between apparently identical houses and localities. The only way you can find out whether there is a high level in your house is to have it measured. 

Indoor radon is said to be the second highest cause of lung cancer after smoking. Although levels in most homes are low, the action level of 200 Becquerels per cubic metre is exceeded in some homes in Dorset. At this level householders are recommended to act to reduce radon levels. 

Advice for homeowners

The Health Protection Agency website has information about radon in the home and details of their radon measurement services. 

More information is available from the Radon - UK website which is run by the British Geological Survey and the Health Protection Agency. 

The Health Protection Agency has a radon helpline on 01235 822622 or email 

The Defra website provides daily air quality information for Dorset including the effects of air pollution. 

Solid fuel burning

Find more information on the impact of solid fuel burning on air quality, along with useful advice and guidance on how to improve burning practices on our solid fuel burning advice page.