Services for Planners & Developers

Air Quality Consultants provides a comprehensive service relating to modelling, monitoring and assessment of air quality, covering a range of air pollutants that affect health and ecosystems, as well as dusts and odours that affect amenity.  Studies range in size from those that contribute to formal Environmental Impact Assessments for major infrastructure schemes, to stand-alone assessments for small local developments.  Further details of the types of work undertaken are provided in the links below.

Commercial & Residential

Many hundreds of commercial and residential schemes have been assessed.  In the absence of official guidance, Air Quality Consultants has played a leading role in the development of guidance prepared by Environmental Protection UK and the Institute of Air Quality Management.  This has included guidance on ‘Development control: Planning for Air Quality’ which is widely followed across the UK, and guidance on assessing the significance of air quality impacts.  The Company also helped develop the Mayor of London’s Supplementary Planning Guidance on ‘Air Quality Neutral’, which applies to all major developments in London.

The assessments are typically focused on emissions from road traffic, including the potential  impacts at existing properties associated with traffic generated by the scheme, and the impacts on users of the development itself.  Where appropriate, the impacts of emissions from boilers and CHP plant are considered, as are the impacts from other existing sources that may generate pollution, dust or odours.  Construction dust impacts are assessed when required.  When necessary, expert evidence is provided for planning appeals.

Many hundreds of projects have been carried out across the UK covering:

  • small residential developments on busy streets
  • large residential-led and other mixed-use developments
  • schools and nurseries
  • hospitals
  • hotels
  • supermarkets and other retail developments

Industrial & Waste

The impacts of emissions from a wide range of industrial processes and waste management operations have been assessed.  The assessments cover a wide range of pollutants and consider the effects on human health and on ecosystems.  Detailed dispersion models are normally employed, with ADMS or AERMOD used as appropriate.  Projects have covered assessments for planning applications and preparation of permit applications for submission to the regulatory authority.  Monitoring of ambient air around facilities has been carried out when required, with the data analysed using Openair software.  Consideration is given to dusts and odours when necessary.

Projects have included:

  • power generation facilities
  • incinerators
  • energy-from-waste plant
  • pyrolysis plant
  • asphalt plant
  • anaerobic digesters
  • composting and waste treatment facilities
  • oil exploration

Roads & Railways

Air Quality Consultants has assessed the impacts of numerous road schemes, ranging from small links, to major roads of over 40 km length.  Rail schemes have included rail-freight interchanges, new rail links and mainline upgrades.  The impacts assessed cover effects on human health and on ecosystems and are quantified using detailed dispersion modelling, verified against local monitoring.  Consideration is given to emissions of carbon dioxide in relation to climate change impacts, when required.  The work has been carried out for local authority highways departments and for the Highways Agency.  Expert evidence has been provided  at numerous Public Inquiries

Projects have included:

  • the M8 and M80 motorways in Scotland
  • the Thames Gateway Bridge in London
  • the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route
  • the upgrade to the West Coast Mainline
  • the Rossington Inland Port rail-freight interchange
  • sections of the M25 motorway
  • the Weymouth Relief Road
  • a link road in Humberside
  • the A180 in Northeast Linconshire
  • a road scheme in Gibraltar
  • a road scheme in Quatar
  • the Postwick junction in Norwich

Airports & Ports

Air Quality Consultants has extensive experience of undertaking assessments related to airport operations.  The Company has worked on most of the major UK airports.  Its Directors were invited members of the DfT’s expert panels on modelling and monitoring for the Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow.  Recent assessments have used the ADMS Airports model, with emission inventories developed specifically for the airport.  The assessments have covered impacts on human health and on ecosystems.

Monitoring data have been obtained and evaluated for a number of airports, and expert witness evidence has been prepared for a number of Public Inquiries.

The Company has also assessed ports.  This has covered modelling emissions from shipping movements, as well as road and rail access to the port.  Concentrations of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter have been monitored and assessed at ports using Openair software.

Airports worked on by Air Quality Consultants include:

  • Heathrow
  • Gatwick
  • London City
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Liverpool John Lennon
  • Robin Hood, Doncaster Sheffield
  • Cardiff
  • Gibraltar

Ports worked on by Air Quality Consultants include:

  • the Port of Southampton
  • Durban Port in South Africa


Odours are challenging to assess, due to difficulties in measuring them and their inherently subjective nature.  Air Quality Consultants has experience over many years in this field, and has recently contributed to the preparation of guidance on the assessment of odour for planning. 

The methods used include a desk based odour risk assessment, sniff tests and dispersion modelling.  The dispersion modelling is supported by monitoring of odour emissions when appropriate.

Projects have covered:

  • sewage treatment works
  • composting facilities
  • poultry sheds
  • anaerobic digestion plant
  • slurry handling on farms
  • abattoirs
  • catering outlets
  • various industrial operations
  • contributions to planning appeals


Air Quality Consultants has been assessing the impacts of dust emissions for over 20 years.  The Company’s Directors contributed to the development of the glass slide method of measuring dust soiling in the 1980s - a method widely used for assessing dust soiling around construction sites.  The Company has contributed to the preparation of ‘guidance on the assessment of dust from demolition and construction’, and ‘guidance on air quality monitoring in the vicinity of demolition and construction sites’.

Projects have covered dust from construction sites, waste management facilities and mineral workings.  The activities have involved:

  • dust assessments
  • preparation of dust management plans for construction works and for waste management facilities
  • monitoring dust around demolition and construction activities using passive samplers and real-time monitors with alert systems
  • contributions to planning appeals


A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use.  The measures used represent a broad range of categories and criteria from energy to ecology.  Indoor Air Quality was included within the Health and Wellbeing section of the BREEAM 2011 scheme document for the first time and continues to be included in the 2014 version.  

Since the addition of Indoor Air to BREEAM, AQC has completed BREEAM Indoor Air Quality Plans for a number of commercial developments across the UK including offices, academic institutions (including laboratories) and a veterinary centre.  In addition, the company has undertaken a number of indoor air quality studies in a variety of locations, including hydrogen sulphide in a commercial premises, carbon monoxide on board a ferry, NOx and particulate matter within a marquee at Goodwood Festival of Speed, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in a children’s nursery and VOCs, dust, particulate matter, fungi, and bacteria within a museum.

I have found the staff at AQC to be very friendly and helpful when carrying out assessments on our behalf.

East Herts Council