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Hillingdon air quality action plan 2019 to 2024

We have reviewed the Hillingdon Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) and would like resident's views.

Air quality action plan

Below is a summary of: 

  • actions taken to date to improve air quality in the borough
  • what the latest information tells us about the pollution levels in Hillingdon
  • why we are reviewing our plan to improve air quality where it is most needed, and also for the all residents across the borough

Our Residents' and Environmental Services Policy Overview Committee, inquiry into the review, has helped define the recommendations for action and shape the key priorities for the next five years. Please let us know your views by Friday 19 April 2019.


Hillingdon published its first Air Quality Action Plan in 2004. Since then we have introduced a significant number of measures to improve air quality in the borough including: 

  • all schools now have travel plans aimed at reducing school run journeys
  • there are more dedicated cycle and walking paths throughout the borough to encourage alternative travel options
  • pilot projects have introduced 'green barriers,' such as hedging, to reduce exposure to pollution from busy roads
  • all new building developments must include air quality impact assessments and actively include mitigation measures
  • there is borough-wide enforcement against idling vehicles
  • electric vehicle (EV) charging points are publicly available at all council car parks 

Why are we concerned?

Air pollution has a detrimental impact on public health. It is vital to improve air quality in areas with high levels, but there is also evidence that by improving air quality in general resident's health can also be improved. 

Why are we reviewing the Air Quality Action Plan

The most recent information received from the Mayor of London predicts there are areas of London where the pollution levels are still above the legal standards set for health. In Hillingdon these Air Quality Focus Areas are mainly associated with the area around Heathrow Airport, around the busy road traffic network throughout the borough, and our more urban areas of slower-moving traffic. As a result, in line with other London boroughs, Hillingdon Council is now reviewing their Air Quality Action plans based upon this updated information. 

What's in the new Hillingdon Air Quality Action Plan? 

The objective for the plan is to:

  • improve areas with poorer air quality as soon as possible
  • continue to improve air quality across the borough and reduce resident's exposure to air pollution, especially for vulnerable groups within our communities such as children, the elderly and those already suffering from associated respiratory illnesses

Consequently although the 2019 to 2024 plan will prioritise actions in the Air Quality Focus Areas, the opportunity has been taken to include additional areas across the borough where further investigation may be required. 

Air quality map

The plan identifies the following as priorities.

Lead by example

The council will undertake a review of its own fleet and buildings to develop a programme for reducing emissions from these sources over the five years of this plan. 

Reducing exposure to pollution at, and, on the journey to, school 

The council will work with schools to help them implement measures to reduce exposure to pollution both at school and on the school journey. This will focus initially on schools in the areas of poorer air quality and close to busy roads.

Prioritise the implementation of improvement strategies in the Hillingdon Focus Areas

The council will investigate the development of an air quality improvement strategy for each Focus Area on a rolling programme across the five years of this plan. 

Implement the Healthy Streets approach 

The Healthy Streets approach is defined by the Mayor of London as a means to improve air quality, reduce congestion and help make London's community areas greener, healthier and more attractive places to live, work, play and do business. The council will ensure its transport management projects and town centre improvements programmes incorporate this approach and that the project outcomes include reducing pollution emissions to gain cleaner air.

Ensure the planning system supports the achievement of air quality improvements in new developments

The Hillingdon Focus Areas tend to overlap with the areas earmarked for future development. The council will use its planning policies to ensure new developments incorporate air quality positive design measures from the outset. Suitable mitigation measures will be sought to reduce any pollution increases associated with any new development, especially in areas where the air quality levels are above the recommended health limits. 

Raise awareness via targeted campaigns

The council will develop a rolling programme of awareness and enforcement campaigns focused on the protection of public health such as; 

  • promotion of the free pollution alert system, AirText, to vulnerable groups in the borough
  • explaining health impacts from particulates arising from burning wood, coal and other substances especially in domestic fireplaces
  • enforcement on pollution arising from construction site activities and
  • enforcement of vehicles no idling throughout the borough 

Promote the use of greener walking and cycling routes 

The council will use available funding to improvement cycling and walking routes. This integrated approach will help reduce exposure to pollution, promote healthier lifestyles, as well as improving air quality by providing a zero-emission alternative to car use.

Work with external stakeholders

The council will ensure that organisations and businesses, whose operations contribute to the pollution levels experienced within the borough, are actively engaged to reduce emissions from their operations and help improving the air quality in the local communities.

Download the full plan [2MB]

Have your say

Did you know?

Hillingdon is a declared smoke control area? This means there are controls on what types of fuel can be burnt in the borough and in what type of appliance. Research from the Greater London Authority has shown how the use of the wrong fuels and/or appliances have led to high levels of fine particulate pollution across London. Read more about smoke control areas »

To help residents make use of the increasing miles of cycle-paths in the borough the council offers free cycle training to everyone.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 07 Mar 2019 at 10:35