Environmental problems

Air pollution and health

Long-term exposure to air pollution is estimated to cause as many as 36,000 deaths each year. Air pollution can affect everyone’s health at any stage in our lives, but children and young people, older people, and people with existing lung or heart conditions are more vulnerable to the health effects of air pollution. For further information about air quality and health, visit Public Health England’s information page ‘Health matters: air pollution’.

Air Quality Management Areas

Periodically, the council reviews and assesses air quality in the borough against a range of national health based objectives.

This is done using a combination of monitoring data, computer modelling and road traffic data.

It has established there are currently a number of locations where the objectives are unlikely to be met:

Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) have been declared at these locations and the council has produced an Air Quality Action Plan aimed at improving air quality. These AQMAs are currently under review.

Read the latest assessment of nitrogen dioxide (PDF 5.92MB) in the Watford Air Quality Management Areas.

The plan has input from the council's Development Control, Planning Strategy and Transport Sections, as well as Hertfordshire County Council's traffic planners.

It is aligned with the recent Local Transport Plan (LTP) 3 and suggests a number of measures that could be taken forward.

Read the latest Watford Borough Council report about air quality in the borough.

If you would like to discuss this further, you can contact us by completing our online contact form.

Air quality monitoring

The council monitors air quality at several locations across the borough.

We also collect monthly nitrogen dioxide averages from 17 further sites across the borough – we now have 32 diffusion tubes.

Current and historical monitoring results, as well as annual reports and other useful air quality information, can be found on the Herts and Beds Air Quality Monitoring Network.

Air Quality Alerts

A free alert service is provided for anyone wishing to know about the quality of the air they breathe. It is of particular benefit to people with medical conditions that are affected by pollution, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.

Visit The Herts & Beds Air Quality Network to receive air quality alerts straight to your mobile phone.

The System is not designed to report on levels of pollen. For further information on levels of pollen please visit the pollen forecast

Further information about air quality forecasting is available from DEFRA 

Chimney height approval

Some larger chimneys and furnaces need to be approved by the council, so that it can be ensured that emissions disperse.

There is guidance on this subject on the DEFRA website.

If you would like to discuss this further, you can contact us by completing our online contact form.

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