Manchester’s Sky Scraper Boom – Air Quality Assessed


Credit: Simpson Haugh architects

Manchester’s skyline is becoming more and more clustered with tower cranes at the moment – but not forever. In the near future, these tower cranes will leave, and in their place will be skyscraper heaven, leaving Manchester’s skyline in full bloom.

Proposals for Owen Street, Manchester, from renowned architect, Ian Simpson, include the construction of a cluster of four skyscrapers on the edge of Manchester City Centre, south of Deansgate railway station and north of the Mancunian Way – one of which, is a whopping 64 storey. Not only will this be the tallest building in Manchester but it will also be home to the second biggest storey in the UK. What’s more, the four blocks will boast around 1000 residential apartments, including a private cinema, tennis court, exhibition space, roof terraces and (if that wasn’t enough) a swimming pool.

However, the proposed mixed use development site also happens to be situated in an Air Quality Management Area identified by Manchester City Council as experiencing elevated pollutant concentrations. When situations such as this arise, an Air Quality Assessment is required to consider location suitability for the proposed end-use and provide consideration of potential effects as a result of the proposals. REC Ltd undertook the Air Quality Assessment for this proposed site.

Air Quality Consultant, Jazz Rhoades, added, ‘When assessing Air Quality, our Consultants have to take into account developments of all sizes and their impact on Air Quality throughout all stages. These include the impact of construction on air quality – and with this site, the impact of demolition, earthworks, construction and construction vehicles were considered in particular. Once assessed, we recommended suitable mitigation measures during the construction phase to reduce potential impacts to an acceptable level’.

‘Our Air Quality Assessment also modelled impacts during the operational phase of the development as a result of additional road vehicle traffic travelling to and from the development. However, our assessment indicated impacts were not predicted to be significant at any sensitive location in the vicinity of the site’.

‘Alongside construction and operational phases, dispersion modelling was undertaken to quantify pollutant concentrations at the site. However, our consultants found that indicated pollutant levels at the proposed residential units met the relevant air quality standards. Thankfully, this means that this proposed major development was considered suitable for residential use and its impact on air quality will meet necessary legislation and standards’.

It is air quality assessments and environmental surveys such as these that ensure development in the UK, particularly in places like Manchester and for the Northern Powerhouse, can continue to grow whilst maintaining environmental standards and an awareness of the potential impacts construction can have on the surrounding communities.

Credit: Simpson Haugh architects