Air pollution

1. Improving air quality in Westminster

London has some of the highest pollution levels in the country. In some areas of Westminster, national air quality objectives have been exceeded and as such the City of Westminster has been designated an Air Quality Management Area.

So, to improve air quality, the council has its own ‘Westminster Air Quality Action Plan’ and has undertaken measures such as:

  • using planning policy and sustainable infrastructure to promote clean air
  • pioneering the concept of a Low Emission Zone for London
  • encouraging the use of electric vehicles with recharging points and reduced parking charges
  • engaging with businesses to increase awareness and reduce the environmental impact of businesses
  • engaging with schools to deliver sustainable transport solutions and installing two 'living walls'
  • providing access to the free airTEXT service, which gives advice to those with health conditions affected by poor air quality
  • promoting cycling and walking  infrastructure
  • developing a ‘Westminster Code of Construction Practise’
  • managing a borough wide air pollution monitoring network
  • establishing residential Coach and Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Ban Areas to protect local residents from the impact of heavy through traffic
  • improving Westminster City Council’s own vehicle fleet emissions
  • installing ‘switch off engine' signs in coach parking bays to reduce unnecessary pollution and noise
  • talking to drivers about the air pollution caused by idling engines

Read the full Air Quality Action Plan.

2. Statistics and pollution alerts

The council produces annual Air Quality Progress Reports which are available for download:

You can also get detailed statistics and data on air quality in Westminster, including forecasts, from London Air and also from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

If you have a health condition which is affected by air pollution levels, you can register for free air quality alerts from airTEXT.

3. Report air pollution

Air pollution can include things like fumes, smoke, gas, odours and dust. If you're experiencing an issue, you can report air pollution and engine idling online.

Or to report a smoky vehicle or excessive exhaust fumes, please go to GOV.UK.

4. Air quality champions

Volunteer to be an Air Quality champion

Two volunteers are talking to a lorry driver about engine idling

Leaving a vehicle engine running when parked causes unnecessary air pollution. The City of Westminster is an Air Quality Management Area, so we need to reduce emissions.

We are looking for volunteers for our engine idling campaign which restarts in January 2017.

Trained volunteers will chat with drivers, asking them to switch off their vehicles when parked.


Register your interest by emailing

5. Air quality task group

Westminster City Council has launched a new air quality task group and is calling for evidence to help build on its efforts to tackle harmful air pollution in central London.

Councillors from the Environment, Health and Children’s Scrutiny Committees have formed the task group and, with input from experts, will focus on three main areas:

  • pollution caused by transport
  • pollution caused by buildings emissions
  • the health impacts of poor air quality

This task group has now concluded its work and its final report can be found below. We're also publishing the evidence review which was commissioned by the task group which has informed our work. The task group thanks everyone who submitted evidence.

The Cabinet Members, responsible will now take these recommendations and use them to further develop the council’s work in this area. We are hopeful that this report can form part of the evidence base for our new statutory Air Quality Action Plan due in 2018.

Air quality task group report (PDF, 2.4MB)

King's College London Policy Institute report: air quality improvement initiatives in other cities (June 2017) (PDF, 3MB)

Cross River Partnership evidence for the Westminster council air quality task group (January 2017) (PDF, 618KB)

6. Westminster’s response to Mayor’s Air Quality Consultation

Cllr Heather Acton and Cllr Ian Adams have submitted a response to the Mayor's proposals for a new Emissions Surcharge and Ultra Low Emission Zone.

View the full response to the Mayor’s Air Quality Consultation

7. #DontBeIdle

Our #DontBeIdle campaign aims to improve air quality for our residents and visitors. 

Last updated: 3 January 2018
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