Southampton air quality - March to May 2020

Like the rest of the world, Southampton has experienced unprecedented changes to the way people live and work as a result of government restrictions and guidelines to slow the spread of Covid-19. These conditions have presented a unique opportunity to look at how changes to road emissions and other activities can effect air quality in the city.

The council instructed an independent, third party to review data monitored by our four automatic monitoring stations between March and May 2020. The report found that during this period:

  • Road traffic levels declined rapidly following the introduction of government restrictions and guidelines
  • ‘Nitrogen Oxides’ levels were on average a third lower at roadside sites during lockdown compared to business as usual
  • ‘Nitrogen Dioxide’ levels were on average 12% lower at roadside sites during lockdown compared to business as usual
  • 2020 levels of ‘Nitrogen Dioxide’ can be around a third lower than they were in 2019 if July levels of traffic are maintained
  • Particulate matter increased during lockdown.
  • Weather had a larger effect on pollutant concentrations than emissions themselves during lockdown

You can review the full report by following the links below: