AN INVESTIGATION into the 'herbal high' khat, carried out by the borough last year, has been discussed in the House of Commons.
On Wednesday last week, Hillingdon Council was congratulated in parliament for its work by Conservative MP Mark Lancaster who called on the government to 'fulfil their very clear commitment' to ban the drug.
Khat is a plant grown in the Horn of Africa, and users chew its leaves to release stimulants.
Heavy use can cause a range of health problems, but it is also thought to be a root cause of social and family problems in Britain's East African population, of which there is a large community in Hayes.
It is estimated that there are 50,000 khat users in the capital - a fifth of those in this borough.
Mr Lancaster told the Commons: "I commend Hillingdon Council’s recent report ... which was forthright enough to make recommendations to the Government on matters ranging from classification to temporary bans."
Councillor Michael Markham (Con, Manor), who chaired the Residents’ and Environmental Services Scrutiny Committee tasked with drawing up the report, said: "I am delighted with this, and it proves how wide ranging our report was.
"I have been told that it is the first Hillingdon report to have been discussed in parliament.
"It seems to have struck a chord further afield, and that was one of our objectives from the outset."
The 27-page report, published in May, includes accounts from expert witnesses from community groups, the UK Border Agency and police, health authorities and even the High Commission in Kenya - the country is a major exporter of the plant - who were consulted during the year-long review.
It addresses the economic benefits it brings to prodcuers, weighs up the the pros and cons of banning the drug completely, and considers other forms of regulation, such as its reclassification as a drug or a foodstuff.
The findings of the report are being looked at by the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs, and an update on the report's findings will be given to the next council cabinet meeting on January 26.