Diffusion tube data

Greater Manchester's air quality data

Click on the maps below to see the locations of hundreds of air quality monitoring diffusion tubes across Greater Manchester. These are used to monitor the amount of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air.

We collect and analyse two different sets of data and you can toggle between them using the buttons below:

  • This map shows data collected largely at busy roadside locations for the purposes of the Clean Air Plan. Nitrogen dioxide levels are measured against the long-term annual mean legal limit of 40μg/m3. For Clean Air Plan monitoring purposes, government criteria are that measurements at diffusion tube concentrations of 40.4μg/m3 and below are rounded down to 40μg/m3 and are within the annual mean legal limit.

  • This map shows data collected for the purposes of Local Air Quality Management. Monitoring takes place in areas where there is relevant public exposure to pollution, and includes locations such as homes, schools, hospitals and care homes. For Local Air Quality Management purposes, government criteria are that measurements at diffusion tube concentrations of 40.0μg/m3 and over are above the annual mean legal limit.

Nitrogen dioxide levels are measured against both the long-term annual mean legal limit of 40μg/m3 and a short-term hourly legal limit of 200μg/m3. Exposure to nitrogen dioxide has a cumulative impact over time and may contribute to chronic health conditions – similar to smoking.

How we use this data

Diffusion tube data is used to assess levels of NO2 in the air in Greater Manchester and for scientific modelling to predict future levels of NO2. Monitored air quality data is used to review and align the Clean Air Plan modelling which is validated by the government’s Joint Air Quality Unit independent review panel.

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Select map data
Select year:

Clean Air Plan Monitoring – 2021

A 12-month diffusion tube survey was carried out at 222 monitoring locations in Greater Manchester. Air quality monitoring data showed 45 locations where there were exceedances of the nitrogen dioxide annual mean standard in Greater Manchester, with a further 45 locations considered to be at risk of exceeding the legal limit.

Restrictions during 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic led to reduced vehicle traffic and associated emissions, and lower concentrations of air pollution.

Air quality key

30 or below

Very compliant (green)

Above 30 to 35

Compliant (yellow)

Above 35 to 40

At risk of exceeding legal limit (amber)

Above 40 to 60

Above legal limit (red)

Above 60

Well above legal limit (purple)