Air quality

What do Inverclyde Council do?

Inverclyde Council has a duty under the Environment Act to review and assess the air quality in Inverclyde.  This is called Local Air Quality Management.  This is done in relation to seven key pollutants which have an impact on human health. The levels are measured against national standards.

The air quality data from Inverclyde's monitoring sites, along with data from other Scottish local authorities, is available on the Scottish Air Quality website.  To access this data and find up to date information on the current air quality throughout Scotland please follow the external link on this page to visit the Scottish Air Quality Site.

Since the introduction of the statutory Review and Assessments in 1998, data from all of our monitoring sites have consistently shown that Air Quality Objectives are being met for all measured pollutants. The most recent air quality reports are available to view from the link on the right.

Smoke control areas

There are parts of Inverclyde where only smokeless fuels can be used as these areas have been designated Smoke Control Areas.  The areas cover the town of Port Glasgow and Greenock's east end.  A map of the Smoke Control Areas is available to view from the link on the right.  Inverclyde Council will respond to reports of people burning materials which is creating smoke in these areas. 

Additionally, any burning of items on public or private grounds which causes black smoke in any part of Inverclyde will also be investigated.

How to report an issue with air quality

If you have concerns or enquiries regarding local air quality, or burning of materials which is causing smoke, you should contact the Customer Contact centre, in confidence, for advice and assistance from the Envrironmental Protection team, using the contact details on this page. 

Anonymous air quality service requests will be investigated, however that investigation will be limited.  To allow us to fully investigate your request you should, if applicable, provide us with:

  • Your name, address and if possible a contact telephone number
  • The address complained of and the type of issue experienced
  • When and for how long the problem normally occurs
  • The way the issue affects you

Information on how Inverclyde Council processes your personal information and guards your privacy is available by following the 'Privacy' link at the bottom of this page.

What air pollutants are the Council required to monitor?

The Scottish Government requires councils to follow a ‘Review and Assessment’ process in their assessment of air quality. If this process suggests that monitoring may be needed then Inverclyde Council may install a diffusion tube or automatic monitor.

Seven pollutants are included in this process: benzene, 1,3 butadiene, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and particles (less than 10 µm).

Air quality tubes
Diffusion tube

We currently monitor levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) using passive diffusion tubes which are located throughout the area.  You might see these on some of the roads or streets near to where you stay!

We also have an Automatic Air Quality Monitor which continuously records the levels of NO2, and particulate matter (PM10.). This unit is currently located in Greenock on the A8, between Ratho Street and the roundabout at McDonald's restaurant.

How you can help improve local air quality

We are very proud of our air quality but we are always striving to improve. Here are some of the ways that you can help us -

Air quality step 1


Use your feet, take to the street

Walk, cycle, bus, train… However you like to travel, leave your car at home and take to the streets. As well as cutting down the amount of pollution you make, you can also get some exercise.
Air quality step 2


Switch your engine off when stationary

By turning off your car engine whenever you’re not moving – only when its safe for you and other road users to do so – you’ll help to make the air cleaner for you, other drivers and pedestrians. Sign up to the #noidling campaign for more info

Air quality step 3


Drive into the future

More than 80,000 people bought low polluting cars in 2016. When you upgrade your car, explore an electric or LPG model (to save on your road tax too). There are currently 11 electric charging points located throughout Inverclyde. Click here for more information.

Air quality step 4


Save your log-burner for the bleak midwinter

Wood burning stoves are becoming increasingly popular, but burning wood produces a lot of air pollutants.  If you live in one of Inverclyde’s 9 Smoke Control Areas (map available to download from this page) you must only burn authorised smokeless fuels. DEFRA have approved a list of appliances and fuels that can be used in Smoke Control Areas. These can be found on the DEFRA website (also available from external links on this page).

If you do not live within a smoke control area you are not required to use an authorised fuel or an exempt appliance but it is good practice to follow these guidelines. Complaints of smoke from domestic premises out with a smoke control area or smoke from bonfires whether they are on domestic or commercial premises may still be investigated in terms of the Statutory Nuisance provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. 

This website (available from external links on this page) has been developed by the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps with the aim of educating householders about correct operation and maintenance of wood burning stoves and open fires.

Additional Information

Know & Respond Scotland - The Free air pollution alert messaging system

Know Respond Logo

Know & Respond - Scotland is a free service that sends registered users an alert message if air pollution in their area is forecast to be moderate, high or very high.

The alert service is provided for anyone wishing to know about the quality of the air they breathe. It can be of particular benefit to people with medical conditions that may be affected by pollution, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. It may also benefit people whose breathing gets worse when air pollution increases.

Every day around 2 pm, air quality forecasters issue a detailed pollution forecast for the following day. Under the scheme, anyone who lives or works in the Scotland can sign up to receive free air pollution alerts by mobile phone text message, voicemail or email.

To register for this service and for further information follow the external link on this page for Know & Respond.

You can get more information about air quality by visiting the sites in the external links section on this page.