top of page

A Guide to Particulate Monitoring after Implementation of SPG8: Construction and Demolition Sites

Asphyxiates | Toxic Gases | Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) | Benzene | Explosive gases | Atmospheric pollution | Dust/Particulates | Noise & Vibration | Ionising Radiation | Calibration and Service | Hire


Environmental particulates and NO2 are becoming an area of increased interest due to their effect on the health of large swathes of the population. Particulate matter is composed of non-gaseous material of varied chemical composition, which is categorised by its diameter. It is produced by a vast number of sources but can include engine emissions, brake wear, fires and construction activities. Particle size is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Those of less than 10 micrometers in diameter are linked to significant health problems due to their ability to infiltrate deep into the lung, with the smallest particulates crossing into the bloodstream.

This can cause significant problems with both your lungs and heart, with many studies having linked particulate pollution exposure to a variety of problems, which include:

The control of dust and emissions during construction and demolition - Supplementary Planning Guidance Greater London Authority (2014)
  • premature death in people with heart or lung disease

  • non-fatal heart attacks

  • irregular heartbeat

  • aggravated asthma

  • decreased lung function

  • increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing

In the UK the action to combat particulate pollution was initially instigated through the implementation of Part IV of the Environmental Protection Act 1995 and the Government’s UK Air Quality Strategy (1997). Guidance has also been published by the Environment Agency for local authorities, through Technical Guidance LAQM.TG(09) ‘Local Air Quality Management’.

Recently action on the control of particulates has been spearheaded by the Greater London Authority, culminating in

the publication of ‘The Control of Dust and Emissions during Construction and Demolition’ (July 2014) and the ‘London Local Air Quality Management (LLAQM), Policy Guidance 2016 (LLAQM.PG(16))

Authorities Focus on Construction and Demolition Activities

Construction and demolition activities can result in impacts on local air quality through:

  • Visible dust plumes;

  • Dust deposition;

  • Elevated PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations; and

  • Increased concentrations of nitrogen dioxide.

These pollutants can result from such on site activities as the breaking-up of materials, movement of soil, the exhaust of diesel powered machinery/vehicles and the movement of vehicles/people across site.

The increased focus on the control of particulate matter by local authorities has meant that construction and demolition activities have been identified as significant sources of particulate matter and subsequently targeted for emissions control. This has been implemented through the aforementioned, ‘The Control of Dust and Emissions during Construction and Demolition’.

Construction Dust

Categorisation of Dust Emission Risk from Sites