Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2021 report released

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20 October 2022

The ‘Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2021’ report has been published today by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

This statistical report is the twentieth in a series of annual reports on air quality in Northern Ireland. It contains summary information on key air quality monitoring results for 2021 and analysis from data collected by automatic monitoring stations. 

Download the report

The key points are:

  • Northern Ireland collected data from 22 automatic monitoring stations during 2021.
  • The report provides details of air quality monitoring undertaken and gives a summary of results, as well as long-term trends. It also sets out information on the progress being made by councils in managing local air quality.
  • This year, the report highlights long term trends in Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) compared to UK average levels and focuses on domestic solid fuel burning in Northern Ireland. 
  • Regulations limit values, target values and corresponding Air Quality Strategy objectives, have been met for the majority of the pollutants covered in this report for Northern Ireland in 2021.
  • Levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – which is measured at three sites – have remained beneath the Regulations target since the measured exceedance recorded in 2016 at Derry Brandywell.  Against the stricter UK Air Quality Strategy objective for PAHs, all three sites exceeded the objective in 2021.
  • A new aspect of the report compares monitored levels of air pollutants in Northern Ireland with the 2021 World Health Organisation (WHO) global air quality guideline levels.
  • Along with the Department, district councils have a duty to carry out air quality monitoring, and where air quality falls below acceptable levels they are required to declare Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs). In the 2021 reporting year there were 19 AQMAs in Northern Ireland.  
  • The Department works closely with district councils and with other government departments to ensure that progress is being made towards meeting all air quality targets and objectives.

Further information

The Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2021 Report can be accessed either through the DAERA website or the Air quality in Northern Ireland website.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This report is updated and published annually; this is the 20th publication. Copies of this report from previous years can be found on the Air QualityNI website,
  2. The main sections of this report cover – Sources of air pollution in Northern Ireland, Legislation and Policy, Air Quality Monitoring Results for 2021, Air Quality Changes Over Time, Domestic Solid Fuel Burning in Northern Ireland, and Measures, Initiatives & Reports.
  3. Follow DAERA on Twitter at and Facebook.
  4. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office: [email protected].
  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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