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Hertfordshire County Council

Housing and health

Living in a poor quality house (for example, one that's damp, cold or overcrowded) can have a serious impact on our physical and mental health.

Some people are more at risk of the effects of poor housing conditions, including:

  • Older people
  • children
  • disabled people
  • people with long term illnesses

Those living in poverty are more likely to live in poor housing conditions, or have nowhere to stay at all.

Check with your district council whether they have any energy improvement schemes running.

Why it matters

  • Cost. Research shows the health impact of poor housing quality costs the NHS £1.4 billion a year. For every £1 spent on improving homes, the NHS will save £70 over 10 years.
  • Education and employment. Poor housing lowers educational attainment and increases the likelihood of unemployment and poverty in later life.
  • Conditions like TB, respiratory illness and psychological distress are more common in overcrowded homes.
  • Poor quality homes are associated with exposure to tobacco smoke, accidents, disturbed sleep and slow growth. They all increase risk of coronary heart disease in later life.

We tackle this public health challenge with a range of partners, including:

  • colleagues in Housing teams
  • Environmental Health
  • NHS services
  • private landlords
  • housing associations
  • community protection teams
  • charities

Housing quality

In Hertfordshire, housing is the responsibility of the local district and borough councils. They are responsible for social housing, benefits and homelessness and may be able to help with home improvements.

Find your local housing service

For general advice and support on housing quality issues, you can also contact HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044. This is Hertfordshire’s confidential and independent information and advice service.

Transport and health

Transport plays an important role in our health. It connects communities, reduces social isolation and helps us access employment and education. All of these are a positive influence on our wellbeing.

Transport also plays a role in tackling some of our biggest health challenges, including poor air quality, physical inactivity and obesity.

The costs to society of transport-induced poor air quality, ill health and road accidents exceed £40 billion each year.

We work closely with our Highways and Transport Planning teams to ensure all aspects of physical health and mental wellbeing are considered in transport policy and highways schemes.

Air quality

What are we doing about it?

  • Promoting the use of green space within Hertfordshire and encouraging the use of public transport, thus becoming a cleaner and healthier county. 
  • Promoting a more efficient transport network, encouraging reduced congestion and reliable public transport.
  • Engaging schools, local businesses and other partners in schemes and initiatives which will make Hertfordshire’s air cleaner.

Read our strategy and implementation plan for more information.

What are district councils doing about it?

The legal responsibilities around air quality primarily sit with district and borough councils. They assess and develop plans for areas where air pollution exceeds national targets - these are called air quality management areas (AQMAs).

Air quality in your district


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