What Is An Air Quality Plan, And How Is It Prepared?


An air quality plan is a normative tool with which the State seeks to fight against atmospheric pollution and establish the necessary measures to improve air quality and ensure that pollutants’ levels do not represent a risk to citizens and the environment.

Who Is Responsible For Drawing Up An Air Quality Plan And What Should It Contain?

The ministries, government delegations, agencies, and public entities attached to the ministries, etc., have the mission, in collaboration with the autonomous communities, to prepare and approve the plans and programs of state-level necessary to comply with regulations and international commitments adopted.

The autonomous communities, which can decree stricter limit values ​​than those established where appropriate are in charge of:

  • Designate the competent bodies in charge of applying the rules;
  • Evaluate air quality through data collection, delimiting different areas, and agglomerations.
  • Approve air quality improvement plans when areas are detected in which the limit or target values ​​are exceeded
  • Inform the public.
  • Implement control measures, approving measurement systems or equipment such as the air quality stations.
  • Establish the sanctions in case of non-compliance.

The local administration is also responsible for adapting existing ordinances and urban planning to comply with the air quality plan as seen by City’s choice.

Minimum Content Of An Air Quality Plan

First of all, it should be noted that there are two types of plans:

  • Air quality improvement plan, aimed at correcting deviations in pollution levels that exceed legal limits
  • The short-term action plan, applicable in those areas where it is estimated that there is a risk of exceeding the alert levels. These plans can include measures such as traffic restrictions or protection measures for the most sensitive groups (the elderly, children, sick people, pregnant women, etc.)

In general, the minimum content that an air quality plan must include:

  • Location and characterization of the area in which air quality levels are exceeded.
  • Evaluation of contamination, detailing the measurements recorded before and after the application of the corrective measures, as well as the evaluation techniques used.
  • Origin of contamination, with a list of the main sources.
  • Analysis of the situation, where the factors that could have led to exceeding the limits (thermal inversions, for example) are analyzed.
  • Improvement measures or projects that already existed.
  • Information on the measures taken to reduce pollution.
  • List of long-term initiatives planned or considered.
  • Publications or documents intended to complete the requested information
  • Procedure to ensure compliance and review.
  • Assessment, the cornerstone of an air quality plan

The evaluation is one of the most relevant sections of a plan to improve air quality since it allows detecting where deviations are occurring and if the measures adopted are effective.