Air quality, dust and odour are increasingly being recognised as significant constraints to development and therefore often require consideration as part of both planning and permit applications for a range of proposed uses. Our experienced team can draw upon a wealth of knowledge and expertise to ensure that these issues are considered appropriately. This is achieved through effective consultation with planning authorities and regulatory bodies, an in-depth knowledge of the latest legislation and guidance and an extensive skill base of assessment techniques ranging from simple screening exercises to complex dispersion modelling.

Wardell Armstrong undertakes air quality dispersion modelling using the most up to date software, specifically ADMS and AERMOD models. Pollutant emissions can be assessed for single or multiple point sources and complex road layouts. Air quality impacts are assessed in line with the Institute of Air Quality Management Guidance and consider off-site sensitive receptors as well as proposed receptors, often at elevated levels for multi-floor apartment blocks. Wardell Armstrong also undertakes air quality assessments in all areas of the UK, including London with its well known air quality issues and Scotland, where more robust air quality objectives apply.

Wardell Armstrong has extensive capabilities and experience in carrying out air quality monitoring using a range of sampling media for different potential contaminants e.g.:

  • deposition or “nuisance” dust
  • particulate matter
  • volatile organic compounds
  • heavy metals
  • toxic gasses

Examples of projects include dust and particulate matter monitoring around mines and quarries; dust, particulates, toxic gases and heavy metals during remediation of a former explosive factory in the vicinity of housing; and we routinely monitor for nitrogen oxide gases (e.g. NO2) by diffusion tubes, in order to validate predictive air quality modelling of vehicle exhaust emissions for housing development planning applications.

When undertaking air quality assessments, Wardell Armstrong has the capability of considering, in detail, potential impacts on sensitive designated habitat sites, such as European conservation sites. Our air quality team is experienced in determining where simple screening or qualitative approaches will be appropriate or where detailed assessments are required (for example atmospheric dispersion modelling). Our expertise includes the assessment of emissions from pollutant sources such as vehicle exhausts, industrial flues, livestock farms as well as construction activities.

Our team of trained odour experts have experience in both regulatory and consultancy roles and are capable of undertaking a variety of different odour assessments. These range from desk based risk assessments using the Source-Receptor-Pathway approach, to detailed dispersion modelling assessments using AERMOD. Our expert consultants also have the capability to undertake sensory sniff tests and are all calibrated in accordance with BS EN 13725. We have extensive experience of undertaking odour assessments and facilitating planning permission for numerous schemes across the UK for a variety of odour sources including sewage treatment works, agricultural and poultry farms, takeaways and bakeries.

We have the skills and experience to assess and provide advice regarding a wide range of dust issues. These include construction sites, Statutory Nuisance compliance, dust audits and quarries.

Dust assessments can be carried out to support planning applications for both small and large-scale developments. We can also offer expert advice, assistance and consultation with regards to any dust issues that may arise during construction. These may include the preparation of a dust management plan, dust audits and offering expertise and experience for sites affected by Statutory Nuisance investigations.

It has become apparent that local authorities are increasingly requesting air quality mitigation measures to be put forward, in order to offset potential development-generated emissions. The damage cost calculation provides a guideline for the size of contribution to be made towards air quality mitigation. The financial value calculated will vary depending on the size and nature of a proposed development. The financial contribution could be used to fund onsite mitigation measures, or it could also be put towards offsite mitigation at the discretion of the council. Our air quality team has vast experience in working closely with our clients and local authorities on this matter.

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