On World Environment Day Council welcomes 20% drop in pollution across Hounslow

Pollution in Hounslow is down 20 per cent due to the coronavirus lockdown, according to data collected from the borough’s monitoring sites

Published: Friday, 5th June 2020

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We can all breathe easier, as pollution in Hounslow is down 20 per cent due to the coronavirus lockdown, according to data collected from the borough’s monitoring sites.

One third of the borough’s air pollution comes from road transport and a significant reduction in traffic on Hounslow’s roads has led to the reduction in emissions of harmful Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2).

Heston is leading the charge with a 25 per cent reduction in emissions while Hatton Cross and Gunnersbury are just behind with a 21 per cent drop each. Chiswick saw a 20.4 per cent decrease while there was an 18.5 per cent drop in Brentford.

Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Steve Curran said: “This is very welcome news on World Environment Day. The improved air quality in the borough is one of the very few positives of the coronavirus pandemic and we are determined to try to maintain this to secure a safe future for our residents and our children.

“Please consider switching your commute to walking or cycling. With less traffic and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians improving at a rapid pace to facilitate social distancing, there has never been a better time to help further reduce air pollution by leaving your car at home. If you do have to drive, please consider using an electric car. We have pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030 and this is an opportunity to accelerate our progress towards this goal.

“The Council would also like to hear residents’ views about how the progress achieved can be maintained in a post-lockdown era and is therefore launching a public consultation to get ideas from residents on ways they think traffic management can be improved and streets made more pedestrian and cyclist friendly. The public consultation is available at this link; https://haveyoursay.hounslow.gov.uk/

Hounslow’s story comes against a backdrop where new evidence recently published by the Greater London Authority shows dramatic improvements in air quality as a result of London’s traffic halving during lockdown. In 2020, before measures to address the coronavirus outbreak were introduced, hourly average levels of NO2 at all monitoring sites in central London had already reduced by more than a third (35 per cent) compared to the same period in 2017. A King’s College London report published on 1 May stated that overall, the mean reduction in hourly NO2 concentrations were 21.5% across London roads.

Hounslow Council is determined to build upon what’s already been achieved for air quality and has already implemented a range of measures, many of which are also being driven by the need to increase space available to cyclists and pedestrians so they can adhere to social distancing.

Roads have been closed, and pavements have been widened: in some instances parking has been suspended to allow for this. Work has restarted on a number of improvement schemes that were paused, to provide more space for pedestrians and cyclists while some sustainable transport schemes already approved have now been brought forward.

More “school streets” (allotted time for resident-only access outside school gates to reduce congestion) have been introduced while bus lane hours across the borough are being extended to 24/7 where possible. This will help ensure more space for those people, including key workers, who are cycling on the borough’s main roads to access jobs and services. 

The Council has also reintroduced adult cycle training with a focus on key workers and is also exploring a cycle loan scheme specifically for frontline workers.

Data from Hounslow’s monitoring sites is set out in the table below.

NO2 (µg m-3) – micrograms per cubic metre




Change April 2020 compared with 2019 average









Hatton Cross




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