Air quality

Transport and air quality in Coventry

Whilst air quality has undoubtedly improved in recent decades, with changing industrial practices and a decline in the use of fossil fuel both domestically and industrially, we still exceed the National Objective for NO2 levels at a number of locations within Coventry. Transport accounts for 49 per cent of UK NO2 emissions in 2016 and the rate of reduction from this sector has slowed down (Nitrogen Dioxide in the United Kingdom Summary, Air Quality Expert Group, 2004). This is due, in part, to the prevalence of diesel vehicles and congestion. View the GHG and energy datasets produced under the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory.

Air pollution adversely affects the health of people at all stages of life, from childhood (including effects on the unborn child in the womb) through to older age. It contributes to the development or exacerbation of a range of health conditions, and is the largest environmental risk to public health, increasing the chances of people needing to access health services, particularly those people with respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Poor air quality affects everyone, especially the young, the old, those with long-term health conditions and those living in more deprived areas. (Air Quality: A Briefing for Directors of Public Health (2017) - DEFRA, Public Health England, Local Government Association).

Emissions from various forms of transport are a significant contributor to poor air quality within areas of Coventry, and a city-wide Air Quality Management Area is in place. This page sets out the plans that are being put in place to reduce vehicle emissions to meet the City Council's commitment to improving air quality throughout the city.

Air quality within Coventry is monitored by the Council's Environmental Protection Team.

National picture

In July 2017, the Government published the "United Kingdom Plan for tackling roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations". Within this, Coventry was named as one of 28 towns and cities in England where NO2 levels are forecast to exceed legal limits in 2021. 

The Council has worked closely with the Government's Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) to develop a plan to achieve the legal limits for NO2 within Coventry in the shortest possible time. The approach to this was set out in reports to the City Council's Cabinet, and the Business, Economy and Enterprise Scrutiny Board.

Coventry Local Air Quality Action Plan

The plan comprises a combination of measures, aligning to three key principles of; behaviour change, cleaner vehicles and infrastructure and technology. For the location of most concern (Holyhead Road), stop-start traffic and traffic volumes need to be significantly reduced in order to improve air quality.

Behaviour Change

Reduce the number of local journeys being made by car by encouraging people to walk, cycle or use public transport instead. This will be done by:

Cleaner vehicles

Make it easier for the residents and businesses to run and operate electric vehicles by:

  • Working with bus companies so that, by 2021, all of Coventry’s buses are low or zero emission vehicles, including 10 new electric buses with dedicated charging infrastructure.
  • Working with taxi operators to ensure our taxi fleet is low emission, including an electric taxi try-before-you-buy scheme.
  • Installing a network of electric vehicle charging points across the city, including in residential areas, to make it easier for people to own and run an electric vehicle.
  • Working with local businesses to ensure that fleets maximise the use of low emission vehicles, with funding secured from Highways England for the Electric Fleet First project giving businesses the chance to try out electric vans, pool cars and taxis


Making it easier for traffic to move around the city by reducing congestion at air quality hotspots, improving capacity on key routes, and using new technology to encourage traffic to take the most appropriate route into the city centre.

  • Upgrade the city’s traffic management systems including traffic lights along Holyhead Road and Allesley Old Road, to utilise new technology to manage traffic flows and reduce queuing.
  • Targeted junction and road layout improvements to remove congestion hotspots and allow freer-flowing traffic on the western approaches to the city centre, resulting in reduced emissions from queuing traffic including:

Holyhead Road Package

Foleshill Road Package

Traffic management measures on Foleshill Road to remove through traffic with the aim of reducing emissions from queuing traffic. Measures could include:

  • Banning the right-turn from Cash’s Lane onto Foleshill Road
  • Banning HGV traffic in some areas
  • Running electric buses along hotspots
  • Introducing bus gates restricting through traffic at certain locations.

'Do your bit' for air quality

Anyone can make a difference by just making small changes to their everyday routines, The Clean Air Hub has everything you need to know about air pollution in one place.

Car use

Road traffic is a major source of air pollution in Coventry. You can help reduce this impact by:

In the home

  • choose paints and wood preservatives that are marked as containing low VOC content.
  • avoid having garden bonfires. As well as annoying your neighbours, bonfires release poisonous gases and particulates which add to local air pollution and global warming.  Compost and recycle your garden waste. See our bonfires page for information on composting and the legal action that can be taken for smoke nuisances.
  • Please see the Burnright website for more information about using your fire correctly. This includes advice on choosing the right fuel, what not to burn and how to use your fire or woodburning stove.

Further advice is available from the Clear Air Hub website.

Air quality and transport

Email: [email protected]

PO Box 15
Council House

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