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Air Quality

Wokingham Air Quality Project (WAQ)

Wokingham’s Air Quality Project is part of the My Journey programme and focuses on improving air quality around the Borough. Working with schools, community groups, and stakeholders, the Air Quality Project delivers a series of one-off events, active travel initiatives, campaigns, and provides educational resources. The project has been funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and will be managed and is delivered by the Air Quality Active Travel Officer. The project is running from 1 October 2020-30 September 2024 with the aim of increasing active travel and behavioural changes around improving air quality in the Borough.

The main focus of the WAQ project is to improve air quality around the Borough and promote the many benefits of walking, cycling and scooting to school.  The project is currently working with five schools that are nearby or within the Borough's Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA), where air pollution is higher. 

The air quality schools are:

  • Emmbrook Junior School, Wokingham
  • Evendons Primary School, Wokingham
  • Hawkedon Primary School, Lower Earley
  • St Crispin's Secondary School, Wokingham
  • The Hawthorns Primary School, Wokingham
  • Westende Junior School, Wokingham,

For information on the Air Quality Management Areas around Wokingham and Twyford Schools please see the maps under Related Downloads.

The WAQ schools have all got diffusion tubes around the school site which measure Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) gas. This is a harmful pollutant which is produced when you burn fossils fuels and comes predominately from transport.

Please click the link to view a map showing the location of the diffusion tubes which are in the Public Protection Partnership area of Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire and Wokingham Borough Councils.

The Public Protection Partnership (PTP) is a shared service that seeks to deliver Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards across Bracknell Forest Council, West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council. Recently the PPP was awarded a grant from Defra for increasing awareness about air quality with school pupils.

Please download the schools air quality toolkit, which can be founded under Related Downloads that was developed by the PPP, which can be used to teach school pupils about what causes air pollution and ways you can reduce it across our borough.   

For more information on how diffusion tubes work please see the information sheet under Related Downloads. 

Activities & Learnings for families, Schools, Kids and more Resource Links:


Air pollution is a local, regional and international problem caused by the emission of pollutants which either directly, or through chemical reactions in the atmosphere, lead to negative impacts on human health and ecosystems.’’ DEFRA, 2020 

What is Air Pollution?

Air pollution is the presence of gases, particles and substances that have been emitted in the atmosphere and that are harmful to the health of humans, other living beings and to the environment; both human (man-made) activities and natural processes can generate air pollution. However, it is usually man-made occurrences that are causing the biggest impact on our air quality and air pollution. Below is a list of the principal pollutants that come from industrial, domestic and transport sources:

  • Sulphur Dioxide
  • Nitrogen Oxides
  • Particulate Matter (PM10, PM5 and PM1)  
  • Nitrogen Dioxide Ozone and volatile organic compounds
  • Toxic Organic Micro-Pollutants (TOMPS)
  • Benzene
  • 1,3-Butadiene
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Lead and heavy metals

How Air Pollution affects our health and the environment

Air pollution has been suggested to cause up to 40,000 premature deaths in the UK (NHS,2016). Air pollution is a significant risk factor for a number of pollution-related diseases and some of the health problems it can contribute towards are heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases. It has been shown to affect vulnerable people more, such as people with underlying health conditions, people of deprivation, low-middle income homes and BAME communities because of more likely to live in deprived areas nearer to busy roads (WHO,2020 & Guardian,2020). But air pollution can affect everyone and everything. It also has a devastating effect on our environment. This can be polluting and poisoning the soils, waterways, seas and adding to greenhouse gases which heats up our world causing other major climate disasters. For more information about these issues visit the websites below:

How to be a part of positive change for your health, others health and the environment

  • Learn about Air quality & air pollution and how you contribute to it
  • Choose to walk, cycle or scoot for short journeys & commutes for work/school as well as your daily exercise
  • Ask your employer if they are taking part in the Cycle to Work Scheme
  • Create a better relationship with nature with yourself, friends and family by spending more time outdoors - walking, hiking, visiting nature reserves (see below in family resources which includes great outdoor activities ideas for children)
  • Take part in tree planting in your local area and home:
    1. Woodland Trust
    2. Plant Britain - A goal to plant 750,000 trees one for every UK primary school over a two year period
  • Consider swapping your existing car for low emissions vehicle, electric or petrol and maintain with regular service and checking of tyre pressure - can save money/fuel too
  • If you are driving in your car when waiting in a queue, at a light or pulled up waiting for someone switch your engine off and encourage others to do the same. Let us be Anti-Idling! 
  • Look into car sharing schemes such
  • Liftshare
  • Co-wheels

Data & News Resources Links:

  • Look at the Air Quality Maps from DEFRA or AccuWeather
  • Follow the Eco Travel Wokingham Twitter account @WokinghamECOTO to see posts on air quality news  
  • In Wokingham we have multiple Air Quality Management Area’s (AQMA). AQMA is an area where air pollution levels have exceeded the national air quality objectives.
  • Air Quality Management Areas 

Further information and resources can be found in the websites below:

Wokingham Air Quality reports

  • 2023 Air Quality Annual Status Report (ASR) please find under Related Downloads.
  • Climate Emergency Action Plan Progress Report July 2020 - please find under Related Downloads. 

Wokingham Air Quality Survey

We previously ran a survey to ask you:

What do you know about Air Quality? What don't you know? And what do you want to know? 

The results of the survey can be viewed in the presentation here or read the pdf version which can be found under Related Downloads.