Air quality monitoring in Poole

The Borough of Poole monitor Nitrogen Dioxide at 16 permanent monitoring locations throughout Poole. In the past we have also monitored for 3 other pollutants: Benzene, Sulphur Dioxide and Ozone. Each of these pollutants have different causes and effects. More information about causes of air pollution and effects of air pollution on the UK air DEFRA website.

Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)

Monitored at 16 locations in Poole, the principle source of nitrogen dioxide is road traffic and is formed during the combustion process from the oxides of nitrogen emitted from vehicle exhausts in the air. Therefore nitrogen dioxide is greatest in urban areas where traffic is heaviest.


Monitored at 5 locations until the end of 2010 in Poole, Benzene is a volatile organic compound (VOC) and the main source is from unburned fuels or as a combustion product from petrol engines(approximately 70% of emissions). Therefore Benzene is also greater in areas where traffic is heaviest.

Monitoring for Benzene ceased from 2011 as this pollutant showed no exception to the air quality objective. Monitoring for Ozone and Sulphur Dioxide ceased from 2011 as the results remained similar to previous years, again with a slightly decreasing trend. These results, combined with financial pressures, resulted in the decision to cease future monitoring of Benzene, Ozone and Sulphur Dioxide from 2011 onwards.

Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)

Monitored at 4 locations until the end of 2010 in Poole, Sulphur Dioxide is an acidic gas combining with water in the atmosphere produced mainly from the burning of fossil fuels and domestic coal burning. UK concentrations of Sulphur Dioxide have steadily decreased in the last 40 years due to a decline in such activities.


Monitored at 4 locations until the end of 2010 in Poole, ground level Ozone is caused through the reaction between nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and sunlight, it is therefore considered a secondary pollutant. Ozone is consequently higher during the summer months and is addressed as a national issue rather than one that can be tackled by local authorities.

Monitoring results

Monitoring results for previous years are available in our annual status reports to DEFRA. If you require the latest data, please contact Environmental Services on 01202 123123 or email

Page last updated: 12 April 2021
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