Air quality

Improving air quality in the Royal Borough

Our commitment to improving air quality has led to us becoming one of only four Beacon Authorities for air quality in the country.

We have been at the forefront of air pollution control for many years, including:

  • becoming the first local authority in the country to declare a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), for the Greenwich Peninsula, in 2004
  • creating Low Emission Areas for major regeneration sites in the Greenwich Peninsular, Millennium Village, The Warren, Tripcock Point and Love Lane
  • introducing a lorry ban (over 7.5 tonne) on Romney Road in Greenwich Town Centre to help reduce pollutant concentrations in one of the busiest areas of the borough
  • upgrading our fleet to reduce pollution contribution
  • conducting research into the accumulation of lead in children during the 1980s (leading to government action to introduce lead-free petrol)
  • implementing the Smoke Control Area in the 1950s.

Pollution monitoring

The main air quality problem today is vehicle emissions. We have the largest automatic monitoring network in London.

View a map of our monitoring stations (London Air website)

Air Quality Action Plan

This sets out what we are doing to improve air quality over the next few years. We developed the plan to complement the Air Quality Management Area, which covers the whole borough. Air quality issues are also set out in the Unitary Development Plan and Local Implementation Plan.

Annual status report

This details how we are doing in achieving or maintaining air quality objectives, and:

  • shows levels of pollutants in the borough over the years
  • lists the actions identified in the Air Quality Action Plan and describes the status of each action.

Download the Air Quality Action Plan and annual status reports

Pollution alerts and reducing exposure

airTEXT is a free service where you receive alerts when air quality is due to be poor in your area. You can register to have the alerts sent straight to your telephone, mobile phone or computer.

This is useful if you, or someone you care for, suffers from:

  • asthma
  • emphysema
  • bronchitis
  • heart disease
  • angina.

Sign up to AirTEXT alerts now

Route planners

Route planners are an effective tool to reduce your pollution exposure. Examples include:

Vehicle checker

If you're looking to buy a new vehicle, you can check the pollution emissions of the vehicles first. The service works for new and used vehicles, as well as fleet vehicles.

Test the vehicle emission checker (London website)

Smoke Control Areas

Royal Greenwich is a smoke control area. This means that smoky fuels are banned and we check furnaces, chimneys and industrial processes.

Authorised appliances listed under the smoke control area orders must be used to burn solid fuels such as coal, coke and wood. Most properties use gas for heating and hot water and this is a very clean fuel. Others are linked to district heating schemes using large central boiler houses.

Report smoke from domestic chimneys

Find out more about smoke control areas (Gov.UK website)


Bonfires contribute to the pollution levels in the borough. A better option to dispose of waste is by taking it to Nathan Way Reuse and Recycling Centre. You can also place green waste in your green bin or make a compost heap.

Advice on having a bonfire

If you must have a bonfire, please following this advice:

  • You must not light a bonfire to cause a nuisance to neighbouring premises
  • Make sure you leave all the garden waste to dry so it has little or no moisture before burning
  • There are no times when bonfires may be lit as of right
  • You must avoid smoke emission from any source that causes a nuisance by law
  • Some woody garden waste, such as rose pruning's or fruit canes, are difficult to compost. They must be dry before burning
  • Essential bonfires must start with a small amount of dry material so it can build up as the heat increases
  • You must not place fresh, green plant material on a bonfire and left to smoulder in a heap
  • You must dispose of any waste material from DIY activity at Nathan Way Reuse and Recycling Centre. Material resulting from building works must never be set alight