The location of the building, close to a main route into and out of the town centre, was a concern to the local authority as it was investigating local air quality in the vicinity of the site with a view to declaring of an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA).

The concentrations of nitrogen dioxide at two local authority operated monitoring locations within 75 m of the development site were above the annual mean objective for the pollutant in 2019.  This, combined with the presence of a bus stop adjacent to the site, led to a request by the local authority for an air quality monitoring exercise at the location of proposed future receptors.


Miller Goodall was appointed to assess the suitability of a plan to convert a building on Sheffield Road in Barnsley into 2 commercial units at the ground floor and 12 residential flats on the upper floors.


Following consultation with the local authority, three diffusion tubes were positioned on the façade of the building position at the approximate locations of the proposed residential units. The positions chosen were deemed to be those with the highest exposure potential.

The diffusion tubes used were provided and analysed by Gradko International Ltd, a MCERTS laboratory. Diffusion tubes provide a relatively cheap method for assessing exposure to pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, consisting of an acrylic tube fitted with coloured and white thermoplastic rubber caps. The coloured cap contains the absorbent. The concentrations of Nitrite ions and hence NO2 chemically adsorbed are determined by UV/Visible Spectrophotometry with reference to a calibration curve.

The monitoring results were annualised and a bias adjustment factor was applied. Annualising is the process of calculating an annual mean from the extrapolation of short-term monitoring results. The diffusion tubes were corrected for bias which represents the overall tendency of diffusion tubes to under or over-read relative to a reference chemiluminescence analyser.

The monitored concentrations of NO2 were below the long and short-term NO2 objectives.

Action and Outcome

The local authority agreed that the site was suitable for residential use with regard to air quality without the need for mitigation. Planning permission was subsequently granted.

Embedded mitigation from the outset included limiting night-time deliveries, acoustic barriers, and layout placement (office furthest from pollution sources & manufacturing further from sensitive receptors.

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