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Air quality

London’s air quality has improved dramatically since the 1950’s.

However, air pollution is still an issue today and poor air quality can affect health, wellbeing, and everyday quality of life.

On days when air pollution is high, even if you’re generally fit and healthy, maybe you’ve noticed your eyes getting watery, coughing or sneezing.

We are responsible for the air quality management of the borough, the monitoring of local air quality, the preparation of Air Quality Action Plans and the production of Annual Status Reports

Air pollution in Havering

The main source of pollution in Havering is road traffic vehicle emissions, mainly due to the key transport routes (M25, A12, A13 and A127) being within Havering.

Other significant sources of air pollution are industrial and construction sites, residential and commercial gas use, and emissions from outside of the borough.

Havering was declared an Air Quality Management Area on 11 September 2006 due to the levels of NO2 and PM10 not meeting the national air quality objectives in many parts of the borough.

The Air Quality Management Area covers the whole of the London Borough of Havering.

Report issues with air quality to us

The Clean Air Act 1993, covers areas ranging from smoke emissions and the height of chimneys to the content and composition of motor fuels.

Our noise, smells, smoke and dust page will tell you how to alert us to air quality issues such as dust and smoke.

Report dust and smoke issues

Air quality monitoring

Currently the air quality in Havering is measured via two automatic air quality monitoring stations located at Waterloo Road, Romford and the A1306 New Road, Rainham.

These stations take hourly readings of air pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), and Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5).

Data for these stations can be downloaded from the London Air website.

In additional to these, we currently monitor monthly NO2 levels at forty six locations across the borough via sixty six diffusion tubes.

Data for these locations can be found in the latest Annual Status Report.

Idling

Leaving your engine running while stationery produces toxic air and is also a waste of fuel and money.

Switching it off is the easiest way to minimise unnecessary pollution.

Doing so, you can make a positive difference by protecting yourself and other people. 

We are supporting the delivery of the London Idling Action Project, which sees 31 local authorities joining forces to tackle engine idling and improve air quality.

Havering is committed to ensuring its drivers and contractors will avoid engine idling wherever possible.

What can you do to help tackle engine idling?

  1. Hold an anti-idling workshop at your school.
  2. Take the #EnginesOff pledge to showcase your organisation’s commitment to driving down air pollution from engine idling.
  3. Download the toolkits and comms materials to help share the anti-idling message and educate drivers about the importance of switching engines off, every stop.

Smoke Control Area

All of Havering is in a Smoke Control Area, and therefore those using solid fuels must ensure that they use an authorised smokeless fuel and/or exempt appliance.

It is not permitted to burn wood and coal in an open fireplace. 

Smoke Control Areas only restrict domestic burning and do not cover bonfires or the burning of waste.

Information on fuels and appliances can be found at the website of Solid Fuel Association or the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural affairs (Defra).

Defra have also produced leaflets giving advice on reducing the impact of open fires and wood burning stoves and how to get the most from your stove or open fire.

Low Emission Zone

Havering is part of the Mayor of London's Low Emission Zone, which means certain vehicles may not be allowed to travel in the borough.

For more information please visit the Transport for London Low Emission Zone webpage.

Non Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM)

NRMM is defined as any mobile machine or vehicle that is not solely intended for carrying passengers or goods on the road.

This includes all machinery on site, even those with road going registration plates, such as tele handlers, dumpers, and those that are not self-propelled, such as generators and compressors.

NRMM contributes a significant amount to London’s poor air quality.

A 2020 report by the Cleaner Construction for London campaign shows that in 2016, NRMM was responsible for 6-10 per cent of all air pollution in Greater London.

In order to address this problem, Havering is part of the NRMM Low Emission Zone, which requires that between a power rating of 37 kW and 560 kW, all engines must meet certain emission standards.

Cycling in Havering

For more information please visit our target your trip pages.

Air Text

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Air quality annual status report and action plan

Read the latest action plan and annual status report

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