Air quality

We have carried out reviews of air quality in the Borough against the objectives for pollutants prescribed in

The Air Quality Standards Regulations (2010)

We declared the Borough as an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) on 31 December 2003. This is because we are currently unable to achieve national air quality objectives for particulates (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), largely as a result of road traffic.

As we have declared an AQMA we are required under the Environment Act 1995 to produce an Air Quality Action Plan. This describes how we intend to improve air quality within the Borough and work towards complying with the government's air quality objectives. 

Redbridge Air Quality Action Plan (2020-2025)

Air pollution has a significant impact on public health, accounting for around 9,400 premature deaths in London each year and affecting the health of many more with asthma, hay fever and other conditions.  Vehicles are the biggest cause of air pollution in Redbridge.

Our Air Quality Action Plan 2020-25 (PDF 2.98MB) aims to improve air quality in the borough by working in collaboration with all members of Redbridge's community and Regional Government.  Our planned actions are focused on reducing nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter emissions to make the air cleaner and healthier, and our key priorities are set out in the AQAP Executive Summary ( PDF 503KB).

Air Quality Monitoring

The London Local Air Quality Management framework requires us to regularly review air quality in Redbridge and compare the results against the national air quality objectives.

In 2003, the whole borough of Redbridge became an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) as it was not meeting the objectives. 

There are 2 automatic air quality monitoring stations in Redbridge:

  • Gardner Close, Wanstead
  • Ley Street Depot, Ilford

These take hourly readings of a range of air pollutants including nitrogen oxides, particulates and ozone.

There are 26 diffusion tube monitoring sites across the borough; the tubes are tested in a laboratory each month, to provide NO2 concentrations.

Based on these readings we produce an Air Quality Action Plan and annual reports to the Greater London Authority on our progress and monitoring data.

Air Quality Annual Status Reports (ASR)

Find out more about the air quality in Redbridge, how we monitor it and strategies for managing air pollution in our latest air quality annual status report.

Changes to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ)

The majority of Redbridge is covered by the Low Emission Zone.

If you want to drive a lorry, bus, coach or other specialist heavy diesel vehicle in the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) without paying a daily charge, it needs to meet certain emissions standards. The LEZ scheme is dealt with by Transport for London (TfL) through the Transport for London website

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

You may also be affected by the Ultra Low Emission Zone. Find out more about  ULEZ

airText - air quality alerts 

airTEXT is a free service for the public providing air quality alerts by SMS text message, email and voicemail and 3 day forecasts of air quality, pollen, UV and temperature across Greater London and the South East. 


Permitted processes are installations that have a potential to cause pollution, e.g dry cleaners, vehicle re-sprayers, petrol stations. Environmental Health Officers inspect and regulate these processes/installations, also known as Part B processes.

Redbridge currently does not have any Part A2 processes in the Borough.

To operate a permitted process without a permit is an offence. A permit is issued under Local Authority Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (LA-IPPC) or Local Air Pollution Prevention and Control (LAPPC).

Public register of permitted processes

Information on permitted processes/installations (e.g. applications, inspections and notices) is stored on a public register. 

Our register of premises operating with a Part B environmental permit [PDF 405kB] is tabulated and is up-to-date as of January 2021.


Redbridge is a Smoke Control Area, often called a Smokeless Zone.

Only certain fuels can be burned in an open fireplace within a property, usually called 'smokeless fuel'. Burning wood and coal is not permitted.           

If you have a wood burning stove it must be an exempt appliance. The fuels you are allowed to burn are listed on the Exempt Appliances list

Smoke Control Areas do not apply to bonfires. View our bonfires page for more information

Contact the Council's Pollution Team for further advice.


Mayor of London’s and London Borough of Redbridge Ley Street Business Low Emission Neighbourhood Project

In support of the council’s commitment to improve local Air Quality and support action on climate change, the Council in January 2020 received notification that it had been awarded a grant of £250,000 through the Mayor of London’s Air Quality fund for a Business Low Emission Neighbourhood (BLEN) project.

The Council’s BLEN project proposal is centred around the Council Ley Street Depot in Ilford and the shopping district at Ley Street junction. This site was selected owing to exceedances in Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentrations and high Particulate (PM10) concentrations. Congestion levels as well as poor public realm infrastructure has adverse impacts on businesses, who experience problems with freight deliveries and a lack of footfall outside their shops. The depot was identified as a key site for intervention as it is within the Council’s control.

The Redbridge BLEN aims to encourage electric vehicle (EV) uptake, support active travel, and improve local freight movements. This BLEN project centres on a partnership with E.ON energy to install an ultra-fast EV charging stations at the Council Ley Street depot to support local businesses.

The project commenced on the 1 February 2020 and is anticipated to be delivered by 1st September 2022. The key work streams of the project include:

  • EV rapid chargers and an Ultra-Fast Charging hub at the Council Ley Street Depot
  • Greening at the A12 / Ley Street / Horns Road junction
  • Freight planning and consolidation / last mile deliveries
  • A raised walkway junction improvement across wards road / Ley Street to include more greening with sustainable urban drainage   

Water quality

A private water supply is any water supply which is not provided by a water utility company.  The source of the supply may come from:

  • wells
  • boreholes
  • springs
  • rivers or streams
  • lakes or ponds
  • private distribution systems (mains water privately distributed by a second party)

All private water supplies should be registered with Redbridge Council where a Public Register is maintained. 

Requirement for risk assessment and sampling

The Private Water Supply regulations 2009 require every relevant supply to undergo a risk assessment conducted by the council. 

A risk assessment is a proactive approach to identify potential hazards to human health and failures of national drinking water standards. 

Mains drinking water supply

The mains drinking water is supplied by Thames Water and Essex & Suffolk Water.  If you have any concerns about your drinking water at home, please phone the Customer Contact Centre on 020 8554 5000.

We examine the quality of the mains water in food manufacturers including breweries and other food industries within the Borough.

The Environment Agency is responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of fresh, marine, surface and underground water in England and Wales.

For further information about sources of water pollution, the potential dangers it causes and tips on how to prevent and keep our waters clean, then visit the Water Pollution website

Land contamination

Land or soil contamination may be present as a result of historical industrial activities, leaking underground storage tanks, waste disposal activities and from natural processes, for example, ground gas generating material (peat and uranium containing rocks).  Contamination may be present in various forms including, biological, chemical or radioactive.

Land is defined as 'contaminated' under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, when there is a significant possibility of significant harm or significant pollution of controlled waters.  A risk is present if there is a source of contamination, a receptor and a pathway that links the two. 

The presence of contamination, therefore, does not necessarily present an unacceptable risk. For example, a site may have soil that contains high levels of harmful metals. However, if the land has been built on and there is no garden or exposed soil then there is no risk to health as there is no pathway for contamination to affect people and is not therefore classed as ‘contaminated land’.

Site search enquiry

Under Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

You can request environmental search information to check if a property or a site had a former land use that may leave a source of contaminants in the ground.  We search our records for information about past uses of the site and adjoining areas.

We charge £200 for commercial sites and £90 for residential sites. This is to cover the cost of the officer time spent searching for records and preparing a written response.

Please complete our online Land Contamination Service form selecting the relevant contaminated land option from the 'complaint' drop down menu.

How we deal with land containing contaminants

Land with contaminants can be dealt with in two ways; either through the planning process during the redevelopment of a site or through the identification of 'contaminated land' under Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

Planning Process

Land contamination, or the possibility of it, should be considered in the preparation of development plan documents and individual planning applications.  The National Planning Policy Framework provides guidance for the preparation of local plans and decisions on planning applications. 

It remains the responsibility of the landowner or developer to identify land affected by contamination and secure a safe development. They should take into account ground conditions and ensure that adequate site investigation and remediation are carried out and reported by competent persons with recognised qualifications and sufficient experience.

A guide has been developed by Redbridge for use by landowners, developers and their Agents to assist in the submission of information in support of planning applications when dealing with land that is either known and/or suspected to be contaminated or where the proposed use is particularly sensitive and/or vulnerable to land contamination.  A copy of this guidance document for developing on land affected by contamination is available on request by emailing Pollution.Group@redbridge.gov.uk

Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990

The contaminated land regime under Part IIA (also known as Part 2A) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes provisions for assessing land in its current land use.  Part 2A came into force in 2000 which requires local authorities to identify 'contaminated land' and ensure that significant risks are dealt with.  Designation of land as ‘Contaminated Land’ under Part 2A would only be used if no better solution were available.

Public 'Contaminated Land' Register

Each site identified as 'contaminated' under Part 2A legislation will be recorded in a Public 'Contaminated Land' Register.  Currently, there are no sites recorded in the register for Redbridge (last updated April 2023).

London Earth

London Earth is a project completed by the British Geological Survey aiming to characterise the soil across Greater London.  Soil sampling was carried out between 2005 and 2010 for 50 elements, including lead, copper and iron. 

View further information on the British Geological Survey website

Underground Storage Tanks

Underground storage tanks (USTs) can be found at sites with former industrial land use including petrol filling stations, car wash and vehicle maintenance garages.  On redevelopment sites, decommissioning and removal of these tanks will be required to satisfy the Council requirements as well as an assessment of ground pollution risks.

Following confirmation of the presence of underground storage tanks at a site, the disused petroleum tanks inspector at the Petroleum Enforcement Authority, in this case the London Fire Brigade, should be contacted as soon as possible to ensure safe methods of working are established for tank decommissioning and removal.

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