Control of air pollutant emissions is a mean to protect air quality. In most cases, this is realized by the imposition of specific emission standards, which usually are based on national and international experience. However, in areas with intense and dense polluting activities (e.g. industrial sites, trafficked roads) these horizontal measures will most probably fail to sustain local air quality. This is mainly because they do not consider the local transport mechanisms of pollutants from the source to the receptor. High local concentration levels might be the result of specific meteorological conditions, amplification owe to neighbour sources and deficient design of the air pollution control (APC) systems. Present work describes a conceptual and holistic approach based on the downwind optimisation, which takes into consideration also the transfer mechanisms that induce the ground level concentration of pollutants. This method can be used to design efficiently and dynamically control both the APC systems and the plant processes. Thus, local air quality can be sustained and protected in all cases and also achieve a significant reduction in capital and operational costs. Nevertheless, no cost-benefit analysis has been conducted here. The approach is also demonstrated in a comprehensive case study.