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Judging the risk of exceedance: Local authority decision-making for air quality management area designation

Woodfield, N. K.; Longhurst, James; Beattie, C. I.; Laxen, D. P.H.


N. K. Woodfield

C. I. Beattie

D. P.H. Laxen


Management of air quality by local government in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) requires a process of local decision-making, involving collaboration between local politicians, authority officers and interest-groups. Since the establishment of the first National Air Quality Strategy for the UK in 1997, local authority environmental health professionals have undertaken a scientific review and assessment process to identify locations where predicted future pollutant concentrations may exceed national air quality objectives. Air quality management areas (AQMAs) are declared where such exceedences are predicted. Over recent years, significant changes in local authority decision-making structures in England, Scotland and Wales have occurred, resulting in changes to the structure and governance in many local authorities. Results are presented from local authority surveys undertaken to examine the occurrence of any conflicts between the science involved in predicting exceedences and the local political decision-making processes in declaring AQMAs. Data are presented for a sample set of local authorities in Great Britain from which it is concluded that decision-making structures in local government are having a demonstrable impact on the designation of AQMAs.


Woodfield, N. K., Longhurst, J., Beattie, C. I., & Laxen, D. P. (2003). Judging the risk of exceedance: Local authority decision-making for air quality management area designation. Local Environment, 8(4), 423-435.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Aug 1, 2003
Journal Local Environment
Print ISSN 1354-9839
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 4
Pages 423-435
Keywords exceedance, local authority, decision making, air quality management areas
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