Air Quality

Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts and particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children, the elderly, and those with existing heart and lung conditions.

Hartlepool has a strong industrial heritage and, in the past, this has often made a significant contribution to poor air quality in the area and, early air quality monitoring within Hartlepool and neighbouring councils was specifically targeted to industrial sources of pollution.

Many of the old industrial plants have now closed and regulation has improved significantly over the decades. Although there are several factors which affect air quality, it is pollution from road traffic, with its primary emissions at ground level, which is now of greatest concern to public health, and is the focus for air quality monitoring within Hartlepool.

Hartlepool Borough Council is responsible for assessing and, if necessary, improving air quality to meet current national objectives (see table below) and to help protect the health and well-being of our residents. 


Air Quality Objective: Concentration

Air Quality Objective:

Measured as

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

200µg/m3 not to be exceeded more than 18 times a year

1-hour mean

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)


Annual mean

Particulate Matter (PM10)

50µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times a year

24-hour mean

Particulate Matter (PM10)


Annual mean

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

350µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 24 times a year

1-hour mean

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

125µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 3 times a year

24-hour mean

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

266µg/m3, not to be exceeded more than 35 times a year

15-minute mean

Improving air quality is often a complex issue, presenting a multi-agency challenge.  Hartlepool Borough Council has, through partnership-working, introduced a range of initiatives and actions as part of its commitment to improving air quality and ensuring that Hartlepool is a place where improved health and wellbeing is experienced by all.   The majority of these actions and initiatives are to reduce the environmental impact of traffic on the roads and encourage healthier, alternative methods of transport.

Air Quality Monitoring

Air quality monitoring is carried out via the use of three automatic sites at Stockton Road, the Headland and St Abbs Walk as well as diffusion tubes situated across the Borough. The pollutants measured are Particulate Matter (PM10) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2). 

Hartlepool’s annual reports have consistently concluded that air quality in the Borough is good in areas where the public are regularly exposed to air pollution. As the results are below the objective levels, there has been no need to declare any Air Quality Management areas in the Borough. 

Air Quality Status Reports (ASR’s)

Hartlepool Borough Council submits an ASR to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) each year. The ASR contains the previous year's Air Quality monitoring data collected from around the Borough and includes recommendations for future actions in relation to Air Quality. 

Our latest ASRs ratified and confirmed by Defra are listed below.

Please contact us using the details below if you would like copies of historic reports. 

Smoke Control Areas

Designated Smoke Control Areas (SCAs) cover most of the Borough of Hartlepool. This means that all buildings in these areas must only use authorised fuels in any working fireplace unless the fireplace has been exempted.

You can check if your property falls within a SCA by downloading the most recent SCA map for Hartlepool here.

Some fireplaces are exempt from the requirement to burn only authorised fuels. This is because they can burn other types of fuel without producing large amounts of smoke and emissions.

A list of exempted appliances can be downloaded here

A list of authorised fuels can be downloaded here

You can use outdoor barbecues, chimineas, fireplaces or pizza ovens in a Smoke Control Area.  However, any of these appliances that release smoke through a chimney of a building - for example a summerhouse - can only burn authorised fuel or must be exempt.

You are allowed to have garden bonfires in smoke control areas, but there are certain rules you must follow.  

If you live within a SCA and would like further information please refer to the official guidance document from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) which can be found here.

Doing Your Bit! 

There are many ways in which residents of Hartlepool can contribute to reducing the levels of air pollution within the Borough, Some examples are:

  • Reducing the level of traffic on the roads by using alternative methods of transport such as walking or cycling which has benefits for health and wellbeing as well as the environment. 
  • Use public transport instead of private vehicles.
  • If you need to travel by car, consider joining a car sharing scheme. 
  • If you intend to replace your existing vehicle then consider purchasing ‘greener’ vehicles such as hybrid and electric vehicles which will become more readily available in future years.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is well maintained and keep tyre pressures properly inflated to manufacturer’s recommendation. Drive more smoothly and avoid excessive speed, excessive braking and prolonged idling.
  • Support local garden initiatives and plant more trees and greenery – and don’t burn garden waste/rubbish in the garden – take it to the waste recycling centre.

Read our Eco-Driving Tips