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London Councils' Air Quality and Planning Guidance

The planning process can help London achieve air quality targets and reduce exposure to harmful pollutants

  • By steve.craddock

The planning process can contribute towards achieving air quality targets, for example by ensuring that developments promote the use of walking, cycling and public transport, and ensure that the impact of poor air quality on new residents, employees and visitors is considered before development begins.

What is the London Councils' Air Quality and Planning Guidance?

The London Councils' Air Quality and Planning Guidance is aimed at:

  • developers
  • their consultants
  • local authorities.

This revised version was endorsed by London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee (TEC) on 17 October 2006.

It provides technical advice on how to deal with planning applications that could have an impact on air quality.

If developers and local authorities follow the procedures in this guidance, it will help ensure consistency in the approach to dealing with air quality and planning in London.

This technical guidance was produced by the Air Pollution Planning and the Local Environment (APPLE) working group. The document updated and replaced the ALG Planning Technical Guidance issued on 20 March 2001 and Circular TEC 01/03.

National Planning Policy Framework

The London Councils' Air Quality and Planning Guidance predates the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which requires that local authorities take into account the presence of Air Quality Management Areas and the cumulative impact on air quality from developments when making planning decisions. They should ensure that any new development in Air Quality Management Areas is consistent with the local Air Quality Action Plan.

The National Planning Practice Guidance provides more information on how local authorities should consider air quality in the planning process.

The London Plan and boroughs’ local plans set out London- and borough-wide policies on planning and air quality.