Air Quality Assessment – Marischal Square, Aberdeen


REC’s Air Quality Consultants completed an Air Quality Assessment in support of a planning application for a city centre regeneration scheme located at Marischal Square, Aberdeen.

The aim of the development was to create a new civic heart and vibrant quarter in Aberdeen through provision of a mix of buildings and public spaces enhancing the city centre throughout the working day and into the evening. The proposals included a new hotel, offices, shopping, coffee shops, bars and restaurants. Furthermore the civic square offered the opportunity to create a space for outdoor events such as markets and plays.

Air Quality Management Area

Aberdeen City Council has declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) incorporating many of the roads throughout the city centre, including those to the south of the proposed development. The AQMA was designated due to exceedences of the annual mean and 1-hour Air Quality Objectives (AQOs) for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and the annual mean and 24-hour AQO for particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of less than 10µm (PM10). As such, there was concern that elevated pollutant concentrations across the site may result in exposure of future users to poor air quality. Additionally, the development had the potential to cause impacts at sensitive locations as a result of fugitive dust emissions during the construction phase and road vehicle exhaust emissions during the operational phase.

Air Quality Assessment Outcome

A dispersion modelling assessment of the local road network was completed using the software package ADMS Roads. This allowed the concentrations of pollutants to be predicted across the site and at sensitive receptors both with and without the development in place.

The dispersion modelling indicated the location was suitable for the proposed end use without the inclusion of mitigation measures to protect future users from poor air quality. Although pollutant concentrations were predicted to vary as a result of the development, the overall impacts associated with operational traffic were not predicted to be significant in the vicinity of the site.

Based on the assessment results, air quality issues were not considered a constraint to planning consent for the development.