Pollution episodes

Air pollution episodes affecting Oxfordshire


Pollutant Period when episode took place Summary of the episode Full report
Ozone Summer 2023

During early June and the start of September 2023, England experienced widespread moderate to high ground-level ozone air pollution, due to hot, sunny weather with light easterly winds coming from continental Europe.


Ground-level ozone is a secondary pollutant, which means it is not directly emitted by traffic or other direct source. It is typically formed in Spring or Summer, when the days are warm, sunny and the air is stagnant, due to the influence of solar radiation on a cocktail of airborne pollutants, also called ozone precursors.
When these conditions are met, ozone is produced, and its levels tend to build up. Ozone is a regional pollutant, so a single ozone monitoring site may represent the regional ozone concentrations that hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to.

A detailed report on how Oxfordshire was impacted by these episodes can be viewed here.
Particulate Matter November 2023

On the 5th November the UK celebrates Guy Fawkes Night, or “Bonfire Night”. The activities of lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks cause emissions of particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5).


In 2023 weather conditions in Oxfordshire were rainy on the weekend of the 4th/5th November. This may have reduced the amount of fireworks being let off, which in turn meant that there was not a noticeable increase in pollution normally associated with fireworks.


In November 2023 the daily air quality index (DAQI) across Oxfordshire remained within the “low” (1-3) band, which is associated with no adverse public health advice for even the most vulnerable in the population.


Particulate matter (PM) consists of solid particles and liquid droplets small enough to be suspended in the air.  Fine particles can be carried deep into the lungs where they can cause inflammation and a worsening of heart and lung diseases.

A detailed report on how Oxfordshire was impacted by Bonfire Night can be viewed here.