Welcome to the UK Air Pollution Information System (APIS). Air pollution is one of the major environmental issues in the UK, with impacts occurring at local, regional and global scales. Much is known about the impacts on natural heritage features, with major steps already being taken in the development of abatement strategies both at national and international levels. It is clear, however, that there are still major gaps in the scientific understanding. This site provides a searchable database and information on pollutants and their impacts on habitats and species.

Air Pollution Information System

Latest news

Nitrogen Thematic Action Plan

The LIFE Natura 2000 Programme in Wales has recently published a Nitrogen Thematic Action Plan, which details priority strategic actions to address nitrogen deposition impacts on Natura 2000 features across the network. It is one of a series of 11 Thematic Action Plans.  

Additionally, Natural Resources Wales have published a report to support the recommendations in the Thematic Action Plan “Assessing and Addressing Atmospheric Nitrogen Impacts on Sites” which examines the sources contributing to nitrogen deposition at Welsh Natura sites. Under the LIFE Improvement Programme for England’s Natura 2000 Sites (IPENS) Natural England have also published a series of Theme Plans, including one for nitrogen deposition. These are strategic plans explaining how they intend to deal with priority issues affecting multiple Natura 2000 sites.

Updating CBED modelling data & new Source Attribution Data

Updating CBED modelling data

We've updated the Search by Location and Site Relevant Critical Loads tools to use the latest pollutant deposition and concentration data. They are now based on a 3-year mean for 2012-2014. Remember that you can also view the changes in concentration/deposition since 2005 at each protected site.

New Source Attribution Data

We’ve updated the source attribution data in the Site Relevant Critical Loads tool. The total acid and nitrogen deposition at each site is apportioned between sources. We also now show the extent to which deposition is from local sources or distant sources. This information can help assess where to target measures to reduce deposition at sites.

New critical loads website

The UK National Focal Centre has launched a new website on critical loads and dynamic modelling. The website provides the latest national-scale critical load exceedance maps and trends in acidity and nutrient nitrogen critical load exceedances. For those requiring more information, detailed reports can be accessed and downloaded on the methods and data used to derive UK critical loads data and maps and exceedance metrics.

Updating CBED modelling data

We've updated the Search by Location and Site Relevant Critical Loads tools to use the latest pollutant deposition and concentration data.  They are now based on a 3-year mean for 2011-2013.   There have been changes to the method used to derive deposition maps in order to correct for an error in the measurement data upon which the mapping is based.  Read more about these changes.

Lichen-App - monitoring nitrogen air quality using lichens

A new mobile app using lichens to assess atmospheric nitrogen pollution effects has been developed by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH).  The web-app is based on a field guide  produced in collaboration with Natural History Museum, The University of Nottingham, SNIFFER, JNCC, SNH, SEPA and NIEA, and published by the Field Studies Council. 

Recent research on UK oak and birch trees identified a set of ‘indicator’ lichens (sensitive and tolerant) with clear responses to increasing concentrations of atmospheric nitrogen pollutants. By identifying the presence or absence of nitrogen sensitive and non-sensitive lichens on tree trunks and branches you can get an estimate of how polluted your area is. Emphasis has been placed on the use of indicator lichens that do not require identification at the microscopic level and that are least likely to be confused with other species. The app includes some simple elements:

- Lichen identification key guide for nitrogen sensitive and tolerant species.
- Simple Recording system for surveying lichens on tree trunks and branches (only five trunks and five branches required).
- Field guide with instructions on carrying out the survey.
- Auto-calculated and robust method to determine nitrogen pollution levels using a standardised nitrogen air quality index (NAQI).
- Informs the public of their local nitrogen air quality based on four pollutant zones - 'Clean', 'At risk', 'Nitrogen Polluted’ or 'Very Nitrogen Polluted'.