Misconceptions about air pollution – Air quality is better than it was

Founder & Director of Clean Air London, Simon Birkett recently wrote an article for Environmental Health News on the Misconceptions about air pollution.

The piece contains a series of cartoons which the campaign group Clean Air in London commissioned to address the capital’s environmental challenges. Beautifully crafted by Andy Davey (@DaveyCartoons), the cartoons address matters such as London smog, wood burning, the tube, cycling and taxis.

The first misconception mentioned within the article ’12 Misconceptions about air pollution’  is that ‘air quality is better than it was’.

Air quality is better than it wasThe Facts:
Visible coal smoke disappeared after the Clean Air Act and has been replaced by diesel exhaust and other largely invisible particles and gases. During this time, the certainty and scale of the health effects of air pollution have rocketed upwards while public understanding has remained where it was 30 years ago for smoking. To find out more, click here.

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Camfil Case Study published in Government’s Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) Guide

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has published the Government Response to the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) consultation with guidance for potential scheme participants.  The guide includes a Case Study on the successful implementation of ISO 5001 by Camfil UK.

ESOSDownload the document here.

DECC has published the Government Response to the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) consultation and laid regulations in Parliament to give legal effect to the scheme, and published guidance for potential scheme participants.

A copy of the Government Response and DECC Guidance can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/consultations/energy-savings-opportunity-scheme.

ESOS is an energy assessment scheme that is mandatory for organisations in the UK that meet the qualification criteria. The Environment Agency is the UK scheme administrator.  Organisations that qualify for ESOS must carry out ESOS assessments every 4 years. These assessments are audits of the energy used by their buildings, industrial processes and transport to identify cost-effective energy saving measures. Continue reading

60 year anniversary for the Clean Air Act for City of London Corporation

Saturday 5th July will mark the 60th anniversary for the Clean Air Act which was put in place by the City of London Corporation to try and tackle the vast amount of air pollution.

The Clean Air Act is legislation that regulates how fuels are burnt in homes, commercial premises and smaller industrial operations.

Clean Air Act

It mainly focusses on the use of solid fuels, e.g. coal and wood. Implementation and enforcement of the Act is carried out by local authorities, this is the boroughs in London and district or unitary authorities elsewhere in England.

The Act introduced a number of measures to reduce air pollution, especially by introducing ‘smoke control areas’ in some towns and cities in which only smokeless fuels could be burned. By shifting homes’ sources of heat towards cleaner coals, electricity, and gas, it reduced the amount of smoke pollution and sulphur dioxide from household fires. Reinforcing these changes, the Act also included measures to relocate power stations away from cities, and for the height of some chimneys to be increased. The launch of the Clean Air Act was an important milestone in the development of a legal framework to protect the environment.

The Clean Air Act was introduced in response to the problem of coal smoke smogs, including the famous ‘Great Smog’ that caused the early deaths of 4,075 Londoners in 1952.

Air pollution in our biggest cities is much worse than most of us have realised.  It averages well over twice World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and legal limits near many of London’s busiest roads.  Mayor Johnson has estimated some 4,300 premature deaths in London in 2008 were attributable to long-term exposure to dangerous airborne particles alone. Continue reading