Air Quality Positive

23 March 2021

What is Air Quality Positive?

On the 2nd March 2021 the New London Plan was adopted.

Within the New London Plan, several policies are outlined that relate to air quality.

One of these policies, Policy SI 1 Improving air quality states:


Masterplans and development briefs for large-scale development proposals subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment should consider how local air quality can be improved across the area of the proposal as part of an air quality positive approach.


In the accompanying text, paragraph 9.1.11 goes on to state:

“An air quality positive approach is linked to other policies in the London Plan, such as Healthy Streets, energy masterplanning and green infrastructure. One of the keys to delivering this will be to draw existing good practice together in a holistic fashion, at an early stage in the process, to ensure that the development team can identify which options deliver the greatest improvement to air quality. Large schemes, subject to Environmental Impact Assessments, commonly have project and design teams representing a range of expertise, that can feed in to the development of a statement to set out how air quality can be improved across the proposed area of the development.”

In light of this the Greater London Authority (GLA) have produced a ‘pre-consultation draft’ guidance document (released on 19th March 2021) called ‘Air Quality Positive’. The document defines ”Air Quality Positive’ as:

“making an active contribution to improving air quality in and around a development site or masterplan area and minimising exposure to existing sources of poor air quality.”

One key theme of this document is the requirement to produce an ‘Air Quality Positive Statement’ (AQPS). The aim of the AQPS is to demonstrate how all aspects of the proposals have contributed to the improvement¬† on air quality. These areas include (but are not limited to):

  • Better design and reducing exposure
  • Building emissions
  • Traffic emissions
  • Innovation and future proofing

The AQPS is a standalone document which would set out how air quality has influenced the design, decision makers, proposed mitigation measures, and the evidence basis for this advice / decisions. It should not duplicate information outlined in other accompanying documents.

What can be done to prepare for Air Quality Positive?

It is a well known fact that ‘Mitigation by Design’ is a more sustainable and cost effective approach than retrospectively implementing mitigation measures.

AAC would therefore strongly recommend getting an air quality consultant on board at the early stages of the proposal design to talk through areas of the proposal design which could actively improve air quality at the site and surrounding area.

AAC are actively looking at updates to the planning system, and would be able to assist you with this new requirement.