Surrey Heath sits to the west of Surrey straddling the M3 motorway, which is the Borough's biggest polluter. The motorway and congested feeder roads that run through settlements such as Camberley, Bagshot and Windlesham are the most obvious sources of pollution with peak time congestion causing vehicle engines to run inefficiently.
Throughout the Borough the Council monitors the air for common traffic related pollutants to ensure areas continue to be compliant with national standards. Currently the Blackwater Valley Group including representatives from SHBC, Guildford BC, Rushmoor BC, and Surrey and Hampshire County Councils are exploring ways in which air quality can be improved adjacent to the A331.
Air Pollution in our Borough
Pollutants mainly come from human activities such as road traffic, building heating, industry and burning fuel. Some come from natural sources such as wind-blown dust and decomposing organic matter.
Air pollution has an impact on everyone living and working in our borough. However, it is the most vulnerable people such as children, older people and those with heart and respiratory conditions who feel the effects most.
People living near busy roads are exposed to higher levels of road traffic pollution. If you have a long term health condition or live on a busy road you can find your local air pollution forecast and associated health advice on the DEFRA website https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/forecasting/locations?q=GU15%203HD .
In addition to our automated monitoring site, we are monitoring the air quality in the borough using diffusion tubes at 53 locations. Details of the sites can be found in the Annual Status Reports. Details of two monitoring sites introduced in 2022 will be available in our 2023 Annual Status Report.
We all have a part to play in improving air quality - here are some top tips:
- Think about leaving the car at home - even for just one day per week.
- Cycle to work or school
- Switch off your engine when you’re in stationary traffic or parked (and it’s safe to do so)
- Buying a new car - have you thought about an LPG or electric vehicle?
- Reduce your exposure to air pollution by choosing quieter streets when walking or cycling
- If you own a wood burner always use smokeless fuels or well-seasoned wood, this is wood that has had a chance to dry out properly, so it burns efficiently and with less pollution. Watch this animation from the Surrey Air Alliance featuring advice on wood burning stoves
- For further info on improving fuel efficiency and reduce impact, please see Defra’s Burn Better guidance.
- Visit the global action plan website for advice on how to keep air pollution in your home to a minimum
Air quality reports
2020 Air Quality Annual Status Report