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Air Quality & Odour

Practical solutions to complex problems

Air pollutants have important effects on the health of people and ecosystems. Additionally, the public’s high expectation for high levels of amenity in their environment has led to less tolerance of nuisance caused by odours and dusts.

Our consultants have unrivalled experience of delivering Air Quality and Odour Assessments. As well as satisfying the needs of planners and developers, our team of technical consultants provide independent, expert advice on all aspects of air quality, sustainability and climate change to clients of all sizes in waste management, manufacturing and process industries, transport, power generation, oil and gas, water and wastewater, Local Authorities, government and legal sectors.

Download our Air Quality & Odour Capability Statement here

When is an Air Quality Assessment needed? Download our free, informative wall chart here

Our bespoke solutions ensure that our clients can benefit from:

Enhanced prospects for obtaining planning permission

Negotiation of Air Quality, Dust and Odour conditions under Section 106

Provision of expert witness evidence at Public Inquiries and other proceedings

Full awareness of regulatory obligations, legal constraints and penalties

Efficient environmental permitting for industrial processes and waste facilities

Cost-effective pollution mitigation options.


We address the full range of air pollutants, including industrial emissions, road traffic odour, bioaerosols, construction dust and greenhouse gases using sophisticated modelling and monitoring tools. Should the assessment identify adverse impacts, we will recommend clear, practical solutions, ranging from dust mitigation measures during construction, to advice on building ventillation solutions to safeguard future occupants from exposure to road traffic pollution.

Case Studies

Guernsey Airport Runway and Infrastructure

Guernsey Airport Runway and Infrastructure Guernsey Airport Runway and Infrastructure

Forest Parish of Guernsey

RPS completed an Air Quality Assessment to demonstrate the proposed runway improvements at Guernsey Airport would not adversely affect air quality and climate at any stage of the project. Particular consideration was given to the effects of construction-related traffic on the local road network.

Although, there are no air quality standards in Guernsey, RPS were able to judge the significance of the effects caused by emissions from construction-related vehicles by comparison to the area’s existing air quality conditions.

We also used a risk-based approach to the assessment of fugitive dust and emissions associated with onsite construction-related plant and vehicle emissions. We also recommended the appropriate mitigation measures required to prevent, reduce or offset the effects.

RPS demonstrated that the change in greenhouse gas emissions associated with the airport improvements would be trivial in the context of global temperature change and our client benefited by not having to carry out global climate modelling as part of the scope of this assessment.

Jumeria Gardens

Jumeria Gardens


Meeras Development

RPS undertook a number of assessments in support of the Principal Environmental Assessment Terrestrial (PEAT) for the largest planned urban renewal project in the Middle East.

The Carbon Footprint required a number of bespoke approaches including the development of emissions factors from Dubai-specific fuel use in order to reach a robust assessment of the emissions categories from both the construction and operational phases.

Our Air Quality Assessment covered both the construction and operational impacts and one of the main achievements of the work was to use intelligent gridding to analyse results from multiple models taking data from numerous sources and accounting for changing regional operations and development areas.

A bespoke assessment of the landscape and visual amenity was undertaken, taking into account a number of landmark developments within the project and establishing an appropriate remit for the assessment when no regional specific guidelines exist.

Sharpness Dock In-Vessel Composting Facility

Sharpness Dock In-Vessel Composting Facility Sharpness Dock In-Vessel Composting Facility

New Earth Solutions (NES)

RPS was commissioned to provide odour advice to minimise the potential for emissions to cause odour annoyance at nearby receptors.

We carried out the original odour assessment for the facility based on the pre-operational designs in support of its planning application, two years before it was acquired by NES. RPS addressed Environment Agency requirements following odour complaints about the facility, we updated the odour assessment using actual post-construction design parameters and measured odour emissions data.

RPS went on to detail the worst-case ground level odour concentrations resulting from a reduced extraction fan speed.

RPS presented a robust assessment that allowed our conclusions to be based on a strong weight of evidence.

Using atmospheric dispersion models we were able to predict odour impacts for a range of ventilation stack heights that could potentially be used to improve dispersion and dilution of emitted odours.

The assessment concluded that, by increasing the biofilter ventilation stack from 18 to 28 metres, ground-level odours would be reduced to an acceptable level.

Southwater Way

Southwater Way


Waterman/ASDA Stores Ltd

RPS was commissioned to undertake an Air Quality Assessment for an Environmental Statement of the proposed land for development which included an ASDA store with parking spaces, a petrol filling station and residential units.

The following assessments were undertaken:

Construction effects including fugitive dust and exhaust emissions from construction activities.

Operational effects including the potential air quality effects from changes in traffic flow during the operational phase.

The suitability of the site for residential purposes in regards to air quality.

The air quality impacts of the proposed petrol filling station.

RPS' assessment concluded that construction dust could be mitigated and the air quality effects during operation would be negligible. The petrol filling station was scoped out of the assessment. Air quality did not constitute a material constraint for the proposed development.

Planning permission was given to build the new ASDA store with parking spaces, the petrol filling station and residential units.

Stratford City

Stratford City Stratford City

Bovis Land Lease Ltd / Westfield


RPS monitored construction dust for the Stratford City development on the site of a former railway goods yard. 60,000 tonnes of soil needed to be removed to make way for 2,800 homes, a shopping centre, associated infrastructure and support services.

Our clients recognised that construction dust emissions had the potential to cause significant nuisance and complaints and potential adverse health effects. Our team of consultants were tasked to provide expert professional advice and dust monitoring throughout the construction phase.

We used a dust monitoring scheme to show compliance with guideline levels set to protect against deposited dust nuisance. We also set up an automatic monitor and measured total suspended particulate (TSP) in the air. Any elevated levels could be correlated with the construction activities that were occurring at the time. For the duration of the project our consultants uploaded the results onto an ftp site, with access provided to the clients, the Local Authority and the Olympic Development Authority.

Our dust monitoring scheme demonstrated compliance with nuisance and health limits.

Wind Turbine Manufacturing Facility

Wind Turbine Manufacturing Facility


Woolf Bond Planning

RPS completed an Air Quality Assessment to support a planning application to extend existing use to manufacture wind turbines.

Such production facilities can emit a range of pollutants to air during the fabrication and surface coating processes. Sensitive receptors including residential dwellings - were located only 300m from the proposed facility.

Some of the above emissions would be controlled under the Environmental Permitting Regulations, however, the residual impacts of some developments can still have unacceptable impacts on other nearby developments and land uses.

The manufacturing process used more than a dozen surface coating products, each containing many different chemical compounds of varying volatility.

Our Air Quality Assessment supported the planning application, even though detailed emissions data were not yet available. The results showed that concentrations of VOCs emitted were likely to be well below the expected EPR emission limit and the residual concentrations at the sensitive receptors were well below guideline concentrations set to protect human health. The results of the odour assessment confirmed that there would be no odour annoyance or nuisance beyond the site boundary.