The UK’s highest court has ruled that the government must take immediate action to cut air pollution.
The Supreme Court Justices ruled yesterday in a unanimous decision, that the new Government, whatever its political complexion, should be left in no doubt as to the need for immediate action to address the issue of air pollution.
The ruling is a significant victory for campaigners, who began legal action after the UK breached EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air. Diesel vehicles are a key source of so-called NOx emissions, and NO2 is linked to a range of respiratory illnesses. The Environment Department said work had already been started on revised plans to meet EU targets on NO2. Continue reading →
The Building and Environmental Services Association Indoor Air Quality group was called to address increasing concern in the health implications of being exposed to poor indoor air quality. Representatives from the air movement industry, CIBSE, B&ES attended with BSRIA and other members of the academic community are expected to participate in this group.
The meeting reflected the concern on indoor exposure to air pollution recently expressed by Joan Walley MP: Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee who said:
“We know that there are risks of exposure to poor air quality, to nitrogen dioxide and to particulates. These pollutants are having a large effect on children’s health and if you look at the long term, if you look at this as a whole, then you have to start to question the cost of not taking preventative measures of these kinds.”
She also said:
“There is a public health crisis in terms of poor air quality. There are nearly as many deaths now caused by air pollution as there are from smoking, so the main thing is we stop a new generation of children being exposed.”
She added that “well over a thousand” schools were already near major roads and that it “made sound economic sense” to filter the air coming into the buildings.
This is the first time officially that a firm government link has been made between poor indoor air quality and high levels of traffic air pollution.
Schools and Hospitals were identified as being of high importance and a priority for action to provide an effective haven against daily exposure to traffic air pollution.
A presentation was made by Peter Dyment of Camfil to the group to emphasize how extreme the air pollution is in London and how high the concentrations of traffic pollution can be present without people being aware or making the link to their own health risk.
On a bad air pollution day in central London, even well specified and well maintained air filters in building air systems will struggle to clean the air sufficiently to make it healthy for people to breathe.
In these situations a range of actions could be recommended that could include improving the effectiveness of existing filter systems or the additional use of standalone air purifiers.
Britain has been placed on a health alert as a potentially dangerous cloud of air pollution blows over the country. Experts have said that the smog could cause fatal asthma attacks and warned the elderly and those with health problems to be cautious.
The warnings come due to a potentially dangerous cloud of air pollution passing over from Europe; the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have said that it was mixing with home-grown smog to create a toxic hazard.
Officials have warned that it could trigger problems for people with respiratory conditions, the elderly and the young.
Paris has had major problems with air pollution this week; the French government was forced to impose restrictions on motorists. On Monday, only vehicles with odd-numbered plates were allowed on the city’s roads, followed by those with even-numbered plates on Tuesday. By Wednesday, police had also brought in low speed limits. Continue reading →