Odour Pollution in the Royal Docks, London, UK

Summary of pilot

The Royal Docks area in the London Borough of Newham has long been known for its odours, with its interesting history reported here. However, along with much of east London, the area is undergoing a great deal of development bringing in new residents and businesses to the area who are less familiar and accepting of its reputation. In addition, some of the odours are concerning from a health aspect and potentially linked to air pollution.

The situation

A range of odour-emitting activities have been identified in the Royal Docks. Among them, fumes coming from the heavy traffic and the city airport, and smells coming from the sewage treatment plant and the recycling centre have been reported. The odour issues seem to be intermittent and affect surrounding neighbourhoods differently.

D-Noses role and aims

Mapping for Change is working with the local community, local industries and the local authority to better understand odour nuisance around the Royal Docks. Following the D-Noses methodology, we aim to raise awareness and gather evidence to establish exactly when and how the different odours are perceived by local people. This will be shared with the various industries in order to inform future practice.

Progress so far

The first steps were to understand the issue and map the stakeholders, through meetings, desk research and site visits. Several workshops have since been organised to introduce citizens to the D-Noses methodology and tools to report odours. In tandem, meetings have been held with some of the local industries and the local authority to engage them in D-Noses. Subsequent events are being organised to reach a broader audience and make the most of the power of the many. We have been working alongside community centres, creative hubs and residents associations to reach as broad an audience as possible.

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