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Air quality and pollution

Air quality

An update on bonfires during the coronavirus outbreak

It is understood that bonfires can be a quick and easy way of getting rid of garden rubbish. However during the current Covid 19 crisis we are asking that you do not have any further bonfires. While we are largely confined to our properties we are likely to suffer higher levels of nuisance from activities such as bonfires so it is important that we all take responsibility to ensure that such nuisances do not happen.

 Please be aware that people suffering from respiratory conditions including Covid 19 will be adversely affected by smoke. It could make their symptoms far worse meaning that they need to be hospitalised putting further strain on the NHS.


  • Most garden waste can be composted into a useful soil conditioner, saving you the cost of buying commercial products.
  • Store the garden waste, turning it regularly. This will enable the waste to dry so that it can be transported to your nearest Household Waste Recycling Centre when restrictions are lifted.

Here at South Somerset District Council, we are committed to maintaining good standards of air quality across the district.

This includes:

  • Monitoring levels of harmful pollutants
  • Inspecting companies’ emissions under the PPC regime
  • Investigating complaints
  • Giving advice about burning waste
  • Discussing the risks of pollution in new developments with developers
  • Encouraging cleaner modes of transport
  • The use of wood burning stoves

  1. Air quality monitoring and reporting

    We monitor, review and assess air quality every month, using a network of diffusion tubes throughout the district. These tubes are mostly found in the air quality management areas to monitor the current levels of Nitrogen Dioxide.

    Every year, we have to produce an Annual Status Report (previously known as Updating and Screening Assessments and Progress Reports). These reports show the monitoring we have done and the steps we have taken so far to improve the air quality in the area. Copies of the air quality reports in South Somerset can be found below.

    The updating and screening assessments (USAs) and progress reports give an overview of air quality for a certain year.

    The air quality action plans show the assessment of measures taken to improve air quality in Yeovil.

    2019 and 2020 combined Air Quality Annual Status Report

    2017 - Air Quality Annual Status Report

    2016 - Air Quality Annual Status Report

    2014/15 - Updating and Screening Report 2014 and Annual Status Report 2015 combined

    2013/14 – SSDC Progress Report and Action Plan 2013/14

    2012 - Updating and Screening Report 2012

    Older reports are available on request, contact us.

    For the latest pollution forecasts, visit the Department for Environment, Food and and Rural Affairs website

  2. Things you can do to reduce air pollution

    To help protect yourself and others from the effects of air pollution, follow these tips:

    • Don’t leave your engine idling, switch your engine off when stationary. Car drivers are exposed to twice as much air pollution as pedestrians and nine times more than cyclists.
    • Walk, cycle, or take the bus or train, to cut down the amount of pollution you make, reduce your exposure to air pollution and get some exercise too.
    • Don’t over rev your engine, especially when starting your car.
    • Slow down and drive smoothly. Driving more aggressively and at higher speeds causes more pollution and higher fuel consumption, so avoid rapid acceleration and heavy breaking.
    • Use air conditioning sparingly. AC is a drain on your car’s engine.
    • Check your tyre pressure. Under inflated tyres will increase your fuel bills and increase emissions.
    • If you are buying a new car, explore an electric, hybrid or LPG model. You will save on your road tax as well as reduce your emissions.
    • Use energy-efficient appliances, insulate your home and regularly service your boiler

  3. Advice about domestic wood burning

    Open fires and wood-burning stoves have risen in popularity over recent years and can be a great source of heating, especially for some rural homes. However, smoke from burning causes air pollution which harms the health of millions. 

    If you are burning wood, there are some simple rules to follow to get the most out of your wood fuel and reduce the amount of pollution created. View the leaflets below:

    A practical guide to open fires and wood burning stoves

    How to get the most from your stove or open fire - a guide to buying, storing and seasoning wood

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