Partners Cities: Leicester

Background information about the city

Located at the East Midlands Region of the United Kingdom, the City of Leicester is a major urban area with a multicultural population of approximately 300 thousand people and serves over half a million people from the surrounding County of Leicestershire. Leicester was UK’s first Environmental City, received a European Sustainable City Award 1996 and has achieved BEACON Status in recognition of good practice in maintaining a quality environment.

Environmental situation/problems

Traffic is the main contributor of emissions of CO (88.6%), PM10 (54.2%) and NOx (50.2%) for the city. Prevalent westerly and south-westerly winds contribute emissions from the nearby M1 motorway.

In 2003 air quality objectives for were met for PM10 but not for NO2. CO levels in the city are within objective parameters. Leicester also suffers from excessive levels of O3 (38 exceedances of >1000 µgm-3 daily maximum 8 hour running mean in 2003).

Institutional Context & Infrastructure

Leicester’s traffic and air quality infrastructure is managed by the departments Transport Systems, Transport Strategy and Pollution Control, which contains:

  • Urban traffic control system
  • Over 200 automatic vehicle count sites
  • SCOOT, MOVA & REMAC traffic control with modules for bus priority, congestion and pollution.
  • TRIPS & SATURN traffic modelling
  • Extensive CCTV network & enforcement camera network
  • Car park Variable Message Signs (VMS) Network
  • Presentation of road congestion using WebCOMIS
  • Extensive Cycle Network
  • Real-time Passenger Information System (Star Trak)
  • Air quality monitoring with AUN, RPM, TEOM, BAM & Roving stations and NOx tubes.
  • Metrological data from ‘Met Mast’
  • Data collection using Airviro and MONET
  • Airviro and ADMS-Urban used for local air quality modelling, producing ‘nowcasts’ and forecasts
  • Regional air quality models NAME (incorporating UK Metrological Office data) and OPANA

Active support from the DfT, the Dti, DEFRA, EPSRC and others has created a significant research infrastructure including the ‘Instrumented City’, used by over 200 research projects and cooperated jointly with the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds. Collaborative work is also undertaken with several Universities and Institutions across Europe.

Planned activities and expected results from CITEAIR

As Lead Partner, Leicester City Council will be involved in the planning and execution of all main outputs and products of the CITEAIR project. We will be actively involved in sharing information on air quality management, monitoring and management. By providing data for the COW, the city’s air quality will be compared with other cities in Europe in an accessible form for all.

For Leicester, the legacy of CITEAIR will enable the city’s air quality issues to be assessed in a wider European context by both local public and professionals, allowing for better decision making in the transport strategies, working towards meeting air quality objectives



Leicester City Council

Air quality and traffic information:




2004 Copyright note and legal information