The quality of the air we breathe can significantly affect our health and wellbeing. In general, air quality in Southampton is good but in some parts of the city, on some occasions, it can be poor.

The council has a statutory duty to review and assess air quality in Southampton.

Air pollution

Evidence shows that various sources, such as road transport, industry, agriculture and domestic fires, have a considerable effect on health.

This type of air pollution is so small that it can’t be seen by the naked eye, but can get into our respiratory system.

  • Air pollution is a mixture of particles and gases. The main air pollutants are particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2)
  • Variations of particulate matter can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Once inhaled they can pass directly into the bloodstream
  • In Southampton, the shape of the city restricts transport links into three sides where emissions are focused
  • The major sources of air pollution in the city are road transport emissions, especially heavy goods, and industrial sources
  • More in-depth information on air pollution

What are we doing to improve air quality?

We are committed to improving Southampton’s air quality, reducing health impacts, and fulfilling our legal obligations. We created a full review of ways that we can reduce the levels of air pollution in Southampton. Our full business case was published in December 2018 and helped to shape our approach.

Our Air Quality Strategy sets out how we aim to meet these goals, including:

  • Adopting an effective programme of measures to reduce emissions of nitrogen dioxide, particulates and other pollutants in Southampton
  • Working with businesses and organisations to promote the uptake of low emission technology and change travel behaviours
  • Working with and supporting the education of communities and individuals to identify and support behaviours which improve air quality
  • Being an exemplar of sustainable working practices in relation to reducing emissions and improving local air quality.

What can you do?

  • You can reduce your carbon emissions, save money and get healthier by changing the way you travel. Go to My Journey for more information.
  • Choose to walk or cycle on routes away from busy roads to reduce possible exposure to air pollution. My Journey can identify less polluted and quieter routes.
  • If you are driving, switch off your engine whenever you stop for more than one minute – it saves wear and tear on your car engine and over the period of a year can make savings on the amount that you spend on petrol or diesel
  • Join the Clean Air Network - for more information go to Clean Air Network
  • Become an Air Quality Champion – see how you can help reduce pollution levels in the city by sharing facts about air quality with your friends and family.
  • Consider buying an electric vehicle: We’re currently giving electric vehicle holders a 90% reduction in city parking season tickets. Visit our Electric Vehicles page for more information.
  • You can report a smoky lorry or bus by entering the vehicle details on GOV.UK

Report a smoky lorry or bus