Air quality in Newham

One in seven of Newham’s population are exposed to levels of Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) that is above the UK limit value for human health. On average, Newham residents are also exposed to a level of airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) that is 35% greater than the World Health Organisation guidelines. 7.5% of deaths in Newham are attributable to particulate air pollution (source: Public Health England).

To protect and improve human health and the environment, improving air quality in the borough has become our primary focus.

What the council is doing?

It is our statutory duty to regulate air quality throughout the borough, from sources such as:

  • Industrial processes
  • Planning & development
  • Transport infrastructure
  • Energy and heating
  • Domestic wood burning. 

We work to improve air quality under the regulation below:

  • We permit industrial facilities under the Environmental Permitting Regulations with regular inspections to ensure compliance with permit conditions.
  • We report and act upon pollution above national air quality objectives under the Environment Act by analysing our network of monitors.
  • We investigate bonfires and dark smoke nuisances under the Environmental Protection Act.
  • We place air quality conditions on planning applications under the Planning Act and work with developers to achieve ‘air quality neutral’ buildings/transport, and negotiate solutions to mitigate pollution sources and exposure when applicable.

Newham’s Network of Air Quality Monitors

Newham’s extensive network of air quality monitors is crucial in understanding emissions concentrations. Having this data helps us to make decisions and employ technology, innovative and creative solutions to clean up dirty air in the borough through initiatives and projects in public health, transport, industry, planning and development.

Automatic monitoring stations: Our three automatic stations check the air quality all year round. They monitor for, nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), fine particles PM10 and PM2.5.

Manually operated diffusion tube nitrogen dioxide monitors:  A diffusion tube monitor is located at every local authority school in Newham and these have been used to report on the changes in air quality after clean air initiatives have been introduced such as Healthy School Streets.  An additional 16 diffusion tube sites are located both on main roads and traffic free areas to monitor long term air quality trends.  Some of these monitors have been collecting data since the early 2000’s.

Checks on dust: We have four long term sites which record the amount and type of dust in the air. And we also use hand-held devices and portable sensors for spot checks and reporting on changes in dust concentrations at clean air initiatives.

Local air quality data resources

Check live air quality levels with Air Aware

Newham Residents are now able to check live air pollution levels locally using a new online tool called Air Aware, developed by Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.  Air Aware shows live particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide levels, helping people to make informed choices about their exposure to air quality.  It uses a chatbot that can provide the latest advice in direct response to questions that users ask, which can help people to better protect themselves from the impact of air pollution.

Air Aware is live for residents to view at:

Download historical air quality data

Download weekly, quarterly and annual air quality data from Newham's 5 automatic analyser sites: 

View monthly and annual air quality data for 114 diffusion tube monitoring sites by exploring the map below.  Annual data is ratified, bias adjusted and annualised where necessary.

Report dust, smoke or other nuisances

For complaints about pollution and odour from large industry:


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

To learn more about air pollution, please visit Air Aware website: For actions Newham are taking to tackle air pollution in the borough, refer to Newham’s Air Quality Action Plan progress and delivery.