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Air Quality

Air Quality at East Midlands Airport and the Surrounding Area.

Air Quality

Air quality

We know that local air quality is important to everyone and that poor air quality can impact upon health.

Many other factors contribute towards air quality in the vicinity of the airport; including the major roads near to the airport, the traffic from employees, passengers and vehicles used on site. Working with North West Leicestershire District Council, we ensure that emissions from the airport are continuously monitored and remain well within the limits set by the government.


Our environmental policy commits us to:

  • Develop a Surface Access Strategy that promotes a modal change away from the private car to less environmentally damaging forms of travel
  • Adopt operational practices that seek to minimise the polluting emissions from airport operations
  • Undertake regular monitoring for key pollutants, within the wider context of the Air Quality Strategy for England and Wales to contribute to the control of local air quality
  • Make publicly available the results of air quality monitoring


The airport has a number of programmes in place to control our contribution to local air quality and measure levels of key airborne pollutants at the airport site.

Promoting green transport to and from the airport

We work closely with partners to provide high quality and frequent bus services from the airport to a range of destinations including up to half hourly, 24/7 links to Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Loughborough and Long Eaton. The airport also supports services to Coalville, Castle Donington, Kegworth and other surrounding villages which are home to much of the airport’s workforce. 

For airport staff, our iCommute site-wide travel plan promotes the adoption of sustainable transport for those travelling to and from the airport as a place of work. For our own staff we also provide a tax-free cycle loan scheme enabling colleagues access to a new bicycle

Reducing the emissions of airport vehicles

Each year around 1,200 vehicles are licensed with the airport to operate on the ramp and airfield. Many of these vehicles are very specialised (such as baggage carts or container lifting equipment) and do not operate on public roads. In order to control the emissions from these vehicles, we require all vehicles operating on our site to pass an annual emissions test, similar to that every vehicle passes in order to obtain an MOT certificate. Any vehicle failing an emissions test is withdrawn from service.

Working with our business partners, the airport is also committed to promoting a switch to more sustainable vehicles where feasible. With effect from April 2011 the carbon emissions of all airside vehicles are being offset through a levy charged against each vehicle depending upon fuel type. To enable a switch to low carbon vehicles a new EcoFund, which invests in infrastructure, such as electric vehicle charging points has been established.

Reducing aircraft emissions

The way in which we control aircraft whilst they are on the ground and in the air can significantly affect emissions.

Our Air Traffic Controllers and airline partners work together to adopt rigorous measures, ensuring that emissions to air are minimised. This includes delaying an aircraft from starting any engines until it is known that take-off clearance will not be delayed. When taxiing to and from the runway many of our airline partners also manoeuvre using just one engine. The Continuous Descent Approach technique which we promote among arriving aircraft also contributes to reduced aircraft emissions.

Monitoring and reporting local air quality

In conjunction with North West Leicestershire District Council, we are committed to monitoring air quality on and around the airport site, ensuring that air quality remains below all of the guideline values within the Government’s Air Quality Strategy. In common with other transport modes, including road traffic, the pollutants of greatest concern at airports are oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and benzene.

Nitrogen dioxide

High temperature combustion in air gives rise to a complex mixture of oxides of nitrogen. In order to safeguard health, the Government’s Air Quality Strategy establishes a limit for nitrogen dioxide. The primary source of nitrogen dioxide is road transport; however we undertake continuous monitoring at the Aeropark site, which was selected due to its proximity to the nearest residential properties to the airport. Data from this monitoring station is published monthly on our website. We also deploy diffusion tubes at a range of other locations across the airport – these provide us with levels as a monthly average.


There are a range of particles in the air that that we breathe, larger particles are visible as dust but smaller particles may be invisible to the naked eye.

The Government’s Air Quality Strategy focuses on these very fine particulates. Specifically, the strategy sets a standard for those particles that are 10 micro metres or less. The primary sources of these very fine particulates are road transport, particularly diesel vehicles. 

At the airport, we undertake continuous monitoring at the Aeropark site which was selected due to it’s proximity to the nearest residential properties to the airport. Data from this monitoring station is published monthly on our website.


Benzene is a hydrocarbon compound that is present in petroleum products. The primary source of benzene is the evaporation and combustion of petroleum fuels, the road transport sector is the single largest source. Benzene is present in aviation fuels and the operation of aircraft (and vehicles) at the airport all contribute to the ambient concentration of benzene. The Government’s Air Quality Strategy establishes a very stringent target to safeguard health.

At the airport, we monitor benzene levels at the Aeropark site which was selected due to it’s proximity to the nearest residential properties to the airport. Levels of benzene are obtained by means of diffusion tube as a monthly average and are published monthly on our website.