Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2020 report released

Date published: 15 December 2021

The ‘Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2020’ report has been has been published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

DARD report

This statistical report reflects air quality in Northern Ireland for 2020 and contains summary information on key air quality monitoring results and analysis from data collected by automatic monitoring stations. 

Download the report

The key points are:

  • Northern Ireland collected data from 21 automatic monitoring stations during 2020.
  • The report provides details of air quality monitoring undertaken and gives a summary of results, as well as long-term trends. It also sets out information on the progress being made by councils in managing local air quality.
  • This year, the report also highlights long term trends in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and focuses on the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on Northern Ireland’s Air Quality in 2020. 
  • In 2020, objectives for most key air quality pollutants were met in full.  No sites in the network exceeded the annual mean objective for NO2, for the first time since 2002.
  • Levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – which is measured at three sites – have remained beneath the EU target since the measured exceedence recorded in 2016 at Derry Brandywell.  Against the stricter UK Air Quality Strategy objective for PAHs, two of the three sites exceeded the objective.
  • Along with the Department, district councils have a duty to carry out air quality monitoring, and where air quality falls below acceptable levels they are required to declare Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). In the 2020 reporting year there were 19 AQMAs in Northern Ireland.  
  • The Department works closely with district councils and with other government departments to ensure that progress is being made towards meeting all air quality targets and objectives.

Further information

The Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2020 Report can be accessed either through the DAERA website or the Air quality in Northern Ireland website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This report is updated and published annually; this is the 19th publication. Download copies of this report from previous years.
  2. The main sections of this report cover air quality monitoring results for 2020, long term trends in air pollution and the Effects of Covid-19 lockdown on Northern Ireland’s Air Quality in 2020.  
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  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office.
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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