Report Suggests Chiswick has Worst Air Quality in Borough

The monitoring station on the High Road

A new report on the issue of Air Quality in Hounslow has revealed that Chiswick suffers from levels of pollution well above Government targets. On some measures Chiswick has the poorest air quality in the borough.

Chiswick was one of three areas selected as an Air Quality Management area by the Council along with Brentford and Cranford, adjacent to the airport. The quality of air is measured from a station on the High Road.

The recommended level of nitrogen dioxide levels in parts per billion is 20 but Chiswick has readings of closer to 30 - higher than both Brentford or Cranford.

Whereas air quality has been improving in London generally over recent years there has been no appreciable fall in levels of nitrogen dioxide since 1996. Tests have been carried out at five sites including ones at William Hogarth School and Chiswick Community School.

The situation with fine particles is not as bad with the level in Chiswick being better than Brentford and below Government targets. However the report suggests that these targets are likely to be made more stringent. Worryingly the data points to a deteriorating situation.

Other figures confirm the implications of the report. According to figures from official sources Chiswick will have one of the highest NO2 build-ups in Outer London by 2005.

The report points out that the Government will be in breach of the European Air Quality Directive if certain standards are not reached by 2010. It is the responsibility of the Government, not the local authority, to ensure these standards are met. The recommendations of the report include improving bus services and encouraging more cycling and walking.

The effects of the quality of the air can be seen in asthma levels locally. The table opposite is from a study by the Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow Health Authority which shows our area being well above other parts of the Health Authority for cases of asthma particularly for children.

The report suggests that asthma may not necessarily be caused by air pollution and that smoking is a major extra factor but, as the study points out, smoking tends to be inversely related to income level. If this is accurate then more affluent Chiswick would have a lower incidence of smoking strongly suggesting that the high asthma levels locally are to do with traffic pollution.


Local resident Michael Harper commented on the issue, "It's amazing with emission standards increasing so much that our air is getting worse. With no prospect of any meaningful improvement in public transport over the next five years and every prospect of more cars on our roads we can't look forward to it getting better."

The report on air quality was presented to the local councillors at the Area Committee Meeting on 7th March. The author of the report Rob Gibson who is responsible for environmental matters at Hounslow Council described the air quality in Chiswick as "grim".


  DETR site showing Chiswick Air Quality


May 16, 2002