Publication Local Plan, Chapter 25: Air quality, pollution and hazards

Creating a fairer Salford by:

  • Taking a comprehensive approach to minimising pollution and the adverse impacts that it can have on residents
  • Supporting improvements in air quality, particularly for communities near major roads that currently suffer the worst levels of pollution, and hence promoting better health and quality of life
  • Minimising the potential for people to be affected by land instability

25.1 Pollution involves the introduction of harmful contaminants into the environment, which can include air, noise, light and vibration, as well as substances such as chemicals, particulate matter and certain gases. Pollution can have a major impact on health, amenity, natural resources, wildlife, heritage assets and quality of life, potentially compromising the success and sustainability of Salford and its individual neighbourhoods.

25.2 Development can lead to the emission of pollutants to the atmosphere, land or watercourses, both during construction and through the operation of the completed scheme. Hence, it is important that the planning system is used to complement other regulatory mechanisms for controlling pollution. A development will not automatically be acceptable in planning terms simply because it meets minimum statutory requirements under pollution control regimes, and the broader acceptability of any potential pollution impacts will need to be carefully assessed.

25.3 There are some existing pollution challenges in the city, perhaps the most significant being poor air quality. Within Salford, this is primarily associated with road transport, resulting not just from exhaust emissions but also particulates released by tyre and break degradation, though industrial processes and energy generation can also contribute. Parts of the city are designated as an air quality management area (see Figure 20), and a number of roads are likely to have levels of nitrogen dioxide in breach of legal limits beyond 2020 [1]. Public Health England estimates that 5% of deaths in Greater Manchester are attributable to long-term exposure to particulate air pollution, equating to approximately 1,200 deaths in Greater Manchester in 2016 [2]. Increasing temperatures can heighten the impact of air pollutants, and so climate change further raises the importance of addressing air quality issues.

25.4 The Greater Manchester local authorities are working on a joint Clean Air Plan to bring nitrogen dioxide on local roads within legal limits. This will be complemented by a range of measures in this plan, including ensuring that development is located so as to reduce the need to travel, connected to the walking and cycling networks and of sufficient density to minimise the need to travel by polluting forms of transport (policies A1-A3 and H3), requiring electric vehicle charging points (policy A10), controlling the technology and fuels used in district heating networks (policy EG2), and enhancing the green infrastructure network (chapter 22).

25.5 Other existing pollution challenges in Salford include some of the waterways having a relatively poor ecological and/or chemical status, and land contamination presenting problems on some sites. Residential amenity can be harmed significantly by many forms of pollution, including noise, odour and vibration. It can also be affected by light pollution, as can the normal routines of plants and animals.

25.6 Minimising pollution impacts as far as possible is therefore essential, however, there may be circumstances where it is impossible to avoid small increases in pollution, and such increases may be considered acceptable when balanced against the benefits that would result from development.

25.7 Where there are already significant levels of pollution, or likely to be in the future as a result of development proposals, it will be necessary to control the type and form of new developments to ensure that no unacceptable levels of risk or nuisance result. This will include taking into account the impact of outdoor pollution on indoor air quality. This will be particularly important for sensitive uses such as residential uses, schools and hospitals where the occupiers are at particular risk from the effects of pollution due to their health, age or the potential time length of exposure to that pollution. The sensitivity of uses also extends to industrial processes and utilities infrastructure that require specific operating conditions that could be compromised by certain types or levels of pollution.

25.8 New development will not be appropriate where, due to its sensitivity to pollution, it would prejudice the continuation of other important land uses such as businesses and community facilities (including places of worship, public houses, music venues and sports clubs). This issue is specifically referred to in other policies of the plan relating to the protection of existing employment areas (Policy EC1) and cultural activities (Policy CT2).

25.9 The type of mitigation that may be required to make a development acceptable in terms of pollution will be dependent on its form, location and context. Restrictions on the layout of buildings, or the need for non-opening windows and mechanical ventilation, may impact directly on building design. Green infrastructure such as trees and hedges can be effective in relation to air, water and noise pollution, as well as having wider benefits for quality of life, biodiversity and recreation, and may need to be incorporated both within and outside the site.

25.10 A construction environmental management plan will be required for all major development and should set out the management measures which will be implemented for the construction phase of a development to avoid and manage any construction effects on the environment and surrounding communities. Measures targeted at mitigating other impacts, such as minimising the traffic impacts of developments and maximising the use of sustainable modes of transport, could also assist in addressing pollution issues. The construction phase of a development is likely to have particular environmental, safety and congestion impacts on the road network. Construction activity can also have a significant impact on the occupiers of surrounding residential properties and other land uses, and so construction logistics plans will also be required for all major development.

Map of Salford: Air quality management area

Policy PH1 Pollution control

Development shall minimise and mitigate pollution during both the construction and operational phases of development. Development will not be permitted where it would result in unacceptable levels of pollution, either individually or cumulatively with other existing or proposed developments, or would itself be subject to unacceptable levels of pollution.

The acceptability of likely pollution levels, during both the construction and operational phases of development, will be determined having regard to:

  1. The potential impacts on human health and amenity;
  2. The proximity and sensitivity of uses that could be affected by the pollution;
  3. The proximity and sensitivity of environmental and heritage assets, including potential impacts on wildlife and habitats;
  4. Existing pollution levels, including any air quality management area or other designation; and
  5. Any relevant strategies and targets for pollution control and reduction.

Where appropriate, conditions or planning obligations will be used to ensure that during construction and through the operation of completed development:

  1. Pollution levels and impacts can be adequately monitored; and
  2. Measures to avoid, minimise or mitigate pollution impacts are being appropriately implemented and maintained.

All major development shall be implemented in accordance with a:  

  1. Construction environmental management plan that has been approved by the city council. The plan shall identify how development will avoid, minimise or mitigate effects on the environment and surrounding area; and
  2. A construction logistics plan in accordance with policy A6

Air quality

Development shall:

  1. Be consistent with achieving a substantial improvement in Salford’s air quality and meeting statutory air quality targets; and
  2. Be designed to minimise the potential for air pollution to become trapped close to the ground.


This policy applies to all types of pollution, including that relating to:

  • Air
  • Water
  • Soil and other land contamination
  • Noise
  • Odour
  • Dust
  • Light
  • Vibration
  • Litter
  • Pests and vermin


Major development is defined as in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, as amended, or any successor to it.

Hazardous uses

25.11 The production and use of hazardous substances is a crucial part of the local and national economy. However, by definition, hazardous substances have the potential to cause significant harm to the public and the built environment if there is an accident involving them, and it is therefore essential that the location of associated facilities is carefully controlled. In doing so, it will be important to consider the constraints that a hazardous use could apply to the positive future use of surrounding sites, rather than just the impact on existing uses.

Policy PH2 Control of hazardous uses

Applications for hazardous substances consent, and developments involving the use of hazardous substances, will only be permitted where:

  1. There would be no unacceptable risk to the public, having regard to the number and vulnerability of people who would potentially use developments that would fall within any associated safety zones identified by the Health and Safety Executive;
  2. They would not unacceptably hamper or reduce the development options for adjacent sites or the wider area; and
  3. The hazardous substances would be stored in a way that minimises any potential harm to the environment.

Development near hazardous installations

26.12 Where hazardous installations already exist, it is necessary to carefully control development that takes place nearby them so as to ensure that the public is not put at an unnecessary level of risk. This does not automatically preclude development within the safety zones around hazardous installations, even if this would significantly increase the number of people that would be at risk in the event of a major accident. However, the resultant risk must be acceptable and manageable, and this will affect the type and scale of development that is appropriate in some locations.

Policy PH3 Development near hazardous installations

Development will not be permitted near hazardous installations where it would result in an unacceptable increase in the risk or consequences of a major accident.

In determining whether there would be an unacceptable risk, regard will be had to:

  1. The proximity of the development to the hazardous installation, particularly whether it would be within the inner, middle, or outer safety zone of the installation as identified by the Health and Safety Executive;
  2. The type of hazardous substance and the nature of the hazard resulting from it; and
  3. The number of people likely to occupy, use or visit the development, their vulnerability, and the potential duration of their exposure to the risk.

Land instability

25.13 Problems of land instability have generally been quite limited in Salford in recent years, partly due to careful controls over development. However, the significant levels of past mining activity have left a legacy of mine and ventilation shafts, other openings and areas of potential instability. Furthermore, the city’s peatlands have distinct physical characteristics that require appropriate construction techniques and land management to ensure that any development does not suffer from subsidence.

25.14 Applicants for planning permission will need to submit sufficient information to enable the city council to properly determine the risk of land instability and the appropriateness of any proposed mitigation measures. The Coal Authority has identified parts of the city as Coal Mining Development Areas, where planning applications, excluding householder developments, should include a Coal Mining Risk Assessment.

Policy PH4 Land instability

Development will not be permitted where it would, during either its construction or operational phases:

  1. Be subject to an unacceptable risk of land instability; or
  2. Result in an unacceptable risk to the stability of land, buildings or other structures.


25.15 The main indicator that will be used to monitor this chapter is:

Indicator Baseline position Target
Area of the city within an air quality management area 742.89ha (7.64% of the total area of Salford) Zero by 2024 [3]

25.16 Pollution-related indicators are also included in other chapters of the plan, such as the percentage of surface water bodies of at least good ecological status or potential in the Water chapter.



[2] Public Health England (September 2018) Air Quality in Greater Manchester – from a Public Health Perspective

[3] The Environment Act 1995 (Greater Manchester) Air Quality Direction 2019 was served on all 10 Greater Manchester councils in July 2019, instructing nitrogen dioxide levels must be compliant by 2024 at the latest.

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