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Hertfordshire County Council

Housing and health

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

If you're considered a vulnerable person or on a low income, you may be eligible to free or discounted household energy improvements through the Hertfordshire Warmer Homes scheme:

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.

What can be done?

We are working with district and borough councils, the NHS and other local organisations to tackle housing quality issues together.

This means reducing the number of households in Hertfordshire living in a cold home, as well as improving information and advice.

Housing quality advice

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.

See our joint Physical Activity and Transport briefing for more information on active travel.


Air quality

Defra - Air pollution forecasts Defra - Air pollution health advice Defra - About air pollution

What are councils doing about it?

District and borough councils assess and develop plans for areas where air pollution exceeds national targets.

We've agreed an air quality strategy with the district and borough councils and provided funding to purchase particulate matter (PM 2.5) monitoring equipment across the county.

Air quality plans in your area