Air Quality

Clean air is essential for good health. The Council plays a key role in monitoring and assessing local air quality and through this process the Council has established that air quality within the district is generally good.

Smoke Control

Newry City, with its location within the valley of a basin, has been subject to episodes of poor air quality. This was first recognised in the 1960s at which time monitoring of levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide commenced. At that time the principal source of this pollution was from coal burning appliances. During the 1980s monitored levels of smoke within Newry City breached levels set by a European Directive. As a result the Council embarked on a programme of creating smoke control areas within the City. The effect of a smoke control order is to prohibit the emission of smoke from chimneys in the area.

Between 1991 and 1999 seven smoke control areas were created encompassing over 5000 private dwellings, which resulted in an 80% reduction in smoke levels within the city between 1989 and 1999. To view a map of the smoke control areas Click Here.

Only authorised fuels may be burnt within a smoke control area unless the fuels are used in an exempt appliance, capable of burning such fuels without creating smoke.

For further information please contact:

Environment, Health and Building Services Directorate on 028 3031 3100 or email:


Local Air Quality Management

A system of Local Air Quality Management has been in place in the UK since 1997. The overall aim is to ensure that national air quality objectives will be achieved in all areas. National air quality objectives for seven pollutants; benzene, 1,3-butadiene, carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulphur dioxide (SO2), and particulates (PM10) have been prescribed for local air quality management. Find out more about these pollutants at:

Under the Environment (NI) Order 2002 this Council is required to review air quality within the district and assess whether any locations are likely to exceed the national objectives.

If air pollution levels in an area are likely to exceed these objectives, an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) must be set up. Once a declaration of an AQMA has been made an Air Quality Action Plan must be developed to address the problem. It has been found that in the UK the majority of AQMAs have been declared for NO2, SO2 and PM10.

This Council completed its first review and assessment of local air quality in 2006 and reached the decision to designate five AQMAs within Newry City for the air pollutants NO2 and PM10. Following a further review and assessment of local air quality during the three year period 2006 to 2008 a decision was taken to revoke the five AQMA’s and replace them with one larger AQMA for NO2. The new AQMA is called Newry (Urban Centre) Air Quality Management Area and has a border coterminous with the existing smoke control area boundaries. It is considered that the principal source of NO2 within the AQMA is from road traffic. To view a copy of the Newry (Urban Centre) Air Quality Management Order 2009 Click Here. Please Click Here to download a copy of the draft Air Quality Action Plan.

The Council currently operates three Air Quality Monitoring Stations at which the pollutants NO2 and PM10 are monitored. You can view the data from these stations by clicking . Select the LAQM link where you can access the latest graphs, photographs and site information. The Council operates a network of 29 sites where NO2 is monitored using diffusion tubes.

'To view a copy of the 2013 Air Pollution in Northern Ireland report follow the link below


For updates on local air quality visit Southern Group of Council's Air Quality Twitter page:

AQSouthernGroup (@AQSouthernGroup)