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Government continues to fail to tackle indoor air quality

  • 18 Sep 2017

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Michelle Sharp, Zehnder Group UK says more needs to be done to protect people’s health after 40,000 premature deaths last year were linked to poor air quality.

Regardless of the decision to eventually ban petrol and diesel cars, it is likely to be 50 years until the combustion engine disappears completely. With over 36 million vehicles on our roads, the switch is likely to take a long time.

When announcing the plans, a government spokesman said: “Poor air quality is the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK and this government is determined to take strong action in the shortest time possible.”

The renewed Air Quality Plan revealed by Environment Secretary Michael Gove does not mention Indoor Air Quality. While outside air does impact inside air and reducing petrol and diesel cars will have a positive effect on indoor air quality in urban areas, the two are also affected by various separate factors and surely there is significantly more opportunity to quickly improve indoor air quality if concerted action is taken.

With over 80% of our time spent indoors NOx is just one of the many pollutants present in workplaces and homes due to location.

Building regulations are tackling the dilution of gases/particles to set performance rates in new homes. However, very little is being done to ensure that installed performance is delivered. New homes which don’t exceed the 40/m3 set out in the EU Clean Air for Europe Directive are already filtered of harmful pollutants. For older properties, however, little is being done to improve air quality.

BEAMA has recently launched its successful My Health My Home initiative in 2015 and The Building and Engineering Services Association is championing a dive to improve indoor air quality.

Its long term recommendations reiterate the Government’s plan to eventually ban diesel cars, in addition to building schools away from roads and improving traffic management. 

BESA’s five immediate recommendations are:

  • Ensure correct ventilation is in place
  • Carry out regular maintenance to air conditioning, ventilation and filtration systems 
  • Tackle condensation
  • Improve filtration
  • Measure and tackle internet pollutants like VOCs and carbon monoxide

It is vital that IAQ is recognised as a significant part of the picture when looking at the issue of air pollution.

Zehnder Group UK Ltd
Unit 4, Watchmoor Point
Camberley
Surrey
GU15 3AD
UK

01276 605800

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