Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2020 report released

The ‘Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2020’ report has been published today.

This statistical report, from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, reflects air quality in Northern Ireland for 2020.

It contains summary information on key air quality monitoring results and analysis from data collected by automatic monitoring stations.

The key points are:

- Northern Ireland collected data from 21 automatic monitoring stations during 2020.

- 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 also highlights long term trends in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and focuses on the impact of Covid-19 lockdown on Northern Ireland’s Air Quality in 2020.

- In 2020, objectives for most key air quality pollutants were met in full. No sites in the network exceeded the annual mean objective for NO2, for the first time since 2002.

- Levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – which is measured at three sites – have remained beneath the EU target since the measured exceedence recorded in 2016 at Derry Brandywell. Against the stricter UK Air Quality Strategy objective for PAHs, two of the three sites exceeded the objective.

- 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 2020 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.

The Air Pollution in Northern Ireland 2020 report can be accessed via the DAERA website at or the Air quality in Northern Ireland website -