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Air quality

We manage the levels of air pollution in the borough. We do this by checking the type and amount of pollution in the air and using the law to control industrial pollution.​​​​​​​​​
A car exhaust

What causes air pollution?

The main sources of pollution are:
  • road traffic
  • fossil fuels burned for energy
  • emissions (waste products) from industry and manufacturing
  • dust from building works.

Air quality: our duties

We investigate and regulate nuisance caused by industry, construction and other businesses, for example we:
  • regulate the emissions from industrial sources and building sites
  • check the air quality within the borough
  • look into bonfires and dark smoke given off by businesses premises
  • provide air-quality data, information and technical support
  • give you an up-to-date, air-quality service when pollution is high (airTEXT).

Improving air quality in Newham

We measure our success against national aims, and the law says we have to have a plan of action to improve in areas where we do not meet these aims. 


Air Quality Action Plan

Our action plan is based on an Air Quality Review and Assessment (PDF). The review was a five-year project to measure air quality. It shows that in some areas in Newham pollution levels were too high. So we made a plan to control pollution in these areas.

Following the approval for consultation of the Draft Air Quality Action Plan 2019-2024 in September 2019, a consultation process was undertaken for six weeks. 

The following document summarises the consultation responses and the council's reponse to the issues raised including the resulting changes to the Plan. 

We then looked at how we met the key points in the plan and whether air quality improved. You can read about our progress in our:
We also looked at the boundaries of the current air-quality management areas (areas where pollution was found to be too high).

Air quality and your health

Air pollution can have negative effects on health. Although there is no current evidence that air pollution causes asthma, it is likely to be a 'trigger' and can worsen symptoms.

airTEXT air pollution alerts

airText is a service run by Newham Council and a group of London boroughs, including the Environment Agency, Greater London Authority and Public Health England. It is an early warning service, which alerts people to high levels of pollution.
You can sign up for the service if you live or work in Newham. airText is particularly useful if you have a cardiovascular condition such as heart disease or a breathing condition such as asthma.
Sign up now for airTEXT alerts by mobile phone text message, voicemail or email.

Air-quality information service

Unlike airText which forecasts future air-quality. the air-quality information service gives information about the current levels of air pollution.

Useful information on air quality and health

You may find these websites useful:

Indoor air quality

In most buildings, indoor air pollution will be low. But as we spend a large part of our lives indoors, keeping the indoor air that we breathe free from possible triggers for asthma is important. For more information about indoor air quality, go to the British Lung Foundation website. 

Controlling indoor air quality

Generally good ways to control indoor pollution include:
  • making sure that there is enough ventilation for the size and use of each room
  • reducing humidity (water in the air) where possible.

Reporting air pollution

To report dust, smoke or other nuisances, fill in our online form
For complaints about smells from large industry, contact us by email or phone on 020 3373 0643. If you need help out of office hours call the Initial Response Team on: 020 8472 9624.

If you think you smell gas, call The National Grid immediately on 0800 111 999.

How you can help reduce air pollution

You can take steps to reduce the risks from air pollution.
On the road:
  • use public transport wherever possible
  • avoid short journeys as they are far less efficient for your vehicle
  • car share, particularly on popular journeys such as the 'school run'
  • drive smoothly, at the same speed and at the speed limit, so you can make sure you use fuel more efficiently and reduce emissions (waste from car exhausts)
  • make sure you look after your vehicle and that it meets standards for emissions.
At home:
  • close windows and improve insulation to use less energy
  • use the hints and tips on the Energy Saving Trust website
  • use the Manage energy website.
In the garden:
  • compost garden waste, don’t burn it – bonfires cause air pollution and can annoy neighbours; we can take legal action against you if you keep using bonfires
  • use local services for waste treatment and removal of rubbish
  • recycle
  • use our waste services.
DIY around the house:
  • use paints, varnishes, glues, wood preservatives with a water base or use products with a low solvent content.
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