Best air quality in UK: Where to live

Published Jul 12, 2019 – 4 mins read

With many areas in the UK breaching the advised levels of pollution, where can you find the best air quality in UK and where can you live to enjoy cleaner air? It is proven that air pollution can cause illness, many problems not realised until later in a person’s life.

Air pollution is measured in various ways, perhaps the most known measure is that of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) emission levels. Whilst some NO2 is released into the air naturally as it is produced by plants, soil and water in very low levels, it is largely created by the burning of fossil fuels, most of this type of pollution is caused by vehicles on the road.

It’s of little surprise that the places with the lowest pollution levels in the UK are coastal and rural areas and those areas which see the least road traffic.

The south west – a clean air haven

With the UK’s prevailing wind blowing in a south westerly direction smog is sent north and east, higher is usually better too as smog tends to sink, the coast and sea breeze also improves air quality – the south west region has the most areas with low pollution levels and records some of the best air quality in UK.

Low pollution areas in Devon

Devon as a whole reports low pollution levels, Bideford was recently reported to be one of the country’s top spots to visit with clean air. Along with Bideford which is in North Devon, the South Hams district and West Devon are known for low pollution levels.

The South Hams area includes Salcombe which is a hugely popular place with visitors and residents alike, favoured for its sailing and sandy beaches. Dartmoor National Park stretches across South Hams and West Devon local authorities areas, which are both recorded to have low pollution levels.

Cornwall’s clean air

With so much coastline Cornwall is a top contender in the list of places to live with low pollution levels in the UK, with less busy roads filled with traffic the area has reduced overall annual traffic pollution.

It’s well known that living on the coast is good for you, sea air contains negative hydrogen ions which accelerate your body’s ability to absorb oxygen.

Locations such as Bude have recently been reported to have very clean air, some of the best air quality in UK.  Bude is known for its white sandy beaches and water sports including surfing which is popular in many areas on Cornwall’s northern coastline.

Property in Dorset

Much of Dorset reports low pollution levels, popular places to live such as Sandbanks and Poole enjoy the sea air whilst also having few motorways nearby meaning there is less road traffic pollution.

The Purbeck district on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset in particular has reported low levels of pollution. The local authority includes places such as Wareham, East Lulworth and Swanage. Many properties here boast impressive views out to sea and over the Purbeck Hills.

Fresh air in the New Forest

A safe distance from the M3 motorway, the woods, heath and pasturelands that make up New Forest is a popular place to live which stretches across Hampshire and parts of Wiltshire. Residents and visitors enjoy the cleaner air here. Many properties are surrounded by established woodlands and heath with the native ponies for neighbours, some are located on the sea front with views out to the Isle of Wight.

Low Pollution areas in the Cotswold

The Cotswold District in East Gloucestershire which includes Tetbury, Moreton-in-Marsh, Stow-on-the-Wold, Chipping Campden and Cirencester records low pollution levels.

Famed for its honey coloured period homes, beautiful countryside and the many impressive places to eat and drink amongst other attractions, the Cotswolds is a treasured place to live and visit. Many who live in the southern part of the Cotswolds are easily able to commute to Bath or Bristol.

Places to live in the UK with low air pollution

There are many places away from the south west region of the UK that also enjoy low pollution levels including those within the North Norfolk district, which includes places like Cromer, Blakeney, North Walsham and Overstand.

Many areas in the Yorkshire Dales record low air pollution levels and similarly the Lake District is also an area that has the best air quality in UK.

Plans to improve air pollution in the UK

Moving to the country or coast is perhaps the most straightforward way to live in cleaner air however change is coming to many cities across the country in the form of the Clean Air Zone legislation, where air pollution was not prioritised previously, local authorities are now making plans to bring in measures to improve air quality. Birmingham, Derby, Leeds, Nottingham and Southampton have been ordered by the government to introduce a Clean Air Zones by 2020.

London is bringing the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) into force from April this year, initially covering the same area as the Congestion zone. The ULEZ will mean that all vehicles will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to travel within the area.

Property in a low air pollution area

Choosing an area away from busy roads and areas with increased industrial activity is overall key to finding a place to live with clean air. There are several handy tools online which can help you assess the air pollution in the area you live and those you might be considering moving to, helping home movers establish where they’ll find the best air quality in UK.

If you’d like to discuss your property requirements and understand better how we might be able to help with your search for a new home please contact us, without obligation.