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About air quality

Air pollution results from the introduction of a range of substances into the atmosphere from a wide variety of sources. It can cause both short term and long term effects on health, but also on the wider environment. The air quality in Northern Ireland is generally better now than it has been at any time since before the Industrial Revolution.

These improvements have been achieved through the introduction of legislation enforcing tighter controls on emissions of pollutants from key sources, notably industry, domestic combustion and transport.  However, despite the improvements made, air pollution is still recognised as a risk to health, and many people are concerned about pollution in the air that they breathe.

Government statistics estimate that air pollution in the UK reduces the life expectancy of every person by an average of 7-8 months, with an associated cost of up to £20 billion each year. Legislation and Policies aiming to further minimise and track the impact of air pollution on health and the environment have been introduced in Europe, the UK and Northern Ireland.  Further information on this can be found on the Legislation page.

For further specialist information on pollutants and their impacts on habitats and species, please refer to the UK Air Pollution Information System (APIS).

Use the navigation on the left, to find out more about air quality.