Consultation on proposed changes to the Air Quality Management Area within Cheltenham

Legal duty

Cheltenham Borough Council is required under Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 to monitor, periodically review and assess the air quality in their area in line with guidance issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).  Results of monitoring and detailed modelling of the air quality is compared to the National Air Quality Objectives and where the objectives are found to be exceeded in areas of public exposure, an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) must be declared.

Current situation

The council has operated a monitoring network that records average concentrations of nitrogen dioxide since 1993 and has submitted regular reports on local air quality to DEFRA. Based on the results of this monitoring, the whole of Cheltenham borough was declared an AQMA in 2011. This was based on exceedances of the objective for NO2 in some areas of the town. (See 'Map 1' below).

Since the borough-wide AQMA was declared, continued monitoring has indicated that the area experiencing an exceedance of the annual average nitrogen dioxide level is now limited to a small area of the town in close proximity to parts of High Street, Poole Way, and Swindon Road.  In addition to this, recent detailed modelling and the results of monitoring has identified isolated areas where further monitoring of NO2 levels should be carried out to obtain a detailed picture of any exceedance and the area it affects.  Additional monitoring or fine particulates, called PM10 and PM2.5 will also be increased at locations across the borough.

Proposed actions

The boundaries of any existing AQMA needs to be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that they remain relevant. In light of the data mentioned above, the council proposes to take the following actions:

  • Amend the boundary of the Cheltenham AQMA from including the whole borough to an area including properties with a façade to the following roads:
    • High Street from junction of Gloucester Road and Tewkesbury Road to junction of Burton Street
    • Poole Way
    • Swindon Road from junction of Poole Way to St Georges Street
    • The properties to be included in this area are as shown highlighted in pink on 'Map 2' below.
  • The re-naming of the relevant order as “Cheltenham Borough Council Air Quality Management Area (Area No.1 Amendment) Order 2020”.
  • Increased monitoring of NO2 PM10 and PM2.5 levels at areas identified in the Detailed Modelling Assessment, including:
    • A40 Gloucester Road / A4013 Princess Elizabeth Way roundabout.
    • A46 London Road / Berkeley Street / Hewlett Road junction.
    • Isolated points on arterial roads connecting to the town centre (Prestbury Road around Portland Square and Oakland Avenue, London Road at the Beaufort Arms and Shurdington Road at Upper Norwood Street).

The full report outlining the assessment of air quality which led to the recommendation of the above actions which has been approved by DEFRA is available in the air quality annual status report 2019, along with a commissioned detailed modelling assessment.


Cheltenham Borough Council is legally obliged to declare an AQMA in areas where the air quality objectives are exceeded, however we would welcome views on the boundaries proposed in this case.

When responding to these proposals you should bear in mind the following:

  • The declaration of an AQMA is intended to be a positive and proactive step towards improving air quality in the worst affected areas.
  • The geographical boundary of the AQMA is set to identify the general area in which the Council wants to target improvement actions so that the most badly affected area is improved.
  • Changing the AQMA area does not mean that the council will stop trying to improve air quality elsewhere.
  • Following the declaration of an AQMA an Air Quality Action Plan will be developed to identify actions to reduce air pollution levels. This is likely to take up 12 months and this action plan would also be subject to consultation.The AQAP will also include measures to improve air quality across the town.

Further information is available at:

Local Air Quality Management - Technical Guidance (TG16)(DEFRA, February 2018)

Local Air Quality Management - Policy Guidance (PG16)(DEFRA, April 2016)

The closing date for this consultation is Monday 3 August at 5.00pm.

To contribute, please either email your comments or questions to:

Or send by post to:

AQMA Consultation
Cheltenham Borough Council
Municipal Offices
GL51 3BT

Map 1 - Existing AQMA

Cheltenham Borough Council Air Quality Management Area (Borough of Cheltenham) Order 2011

Cheltenham borough boundary map

Map 2 - Proposed AQMA

Cheltenham Borough Council Air Quality Management Area No.1.

Proposed air quality management area