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Indoor air quality is ‘a planning issue’

Words: Laura Edgar
London air pollution / iStock_48706088

Developers could be required to achieve a certain indoor air quality (IAQ) when trying to get planning permission for new buildings, as Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is urged to consider it for his London Plan.

The Clean Air London campaign has called on Khan to include IQA levels in his revised London Plan for buildings over a certain size.

Simon Birkett, the campaign’s founder, has also called for more measures to turn buildings into “safe havens” in the face of rising outdoor pollution.

The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has given its support to the proposal to make achieving a certain standard of IAQ necessary to gain planning permission.

Paul McLaughlin, chief executive at BESA, said focusing on IAQ could make an immediate difference.

“While the lengthy debates and legal challenges over how to address outdoor air pollution rumble on, our industry can make an instant impact by putting measures in place that protect the health of building occupants.”

In January 2017, Khan announced £1.4 million worth of funding for six neighbourhoods to tackle London’s air quality at a local level. The funding will be matched by £1.1 million from the London boroughs involved and Heathrow Airport.

Birkett said he thinks Khan would supports an IAQ planning proposal, which would be a “game changer”.

Birkett noted that the building regulations already contain requirements for maintaining NO2 at a safe level that should be enforced.

“People spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors and the cost of filtration is about 10 per cent of the cost of actually getting air into the building,” said Birkett. “The cost of filters is tiny compared to salaries and the impact of poor air quality on people’s health and productivity.”

Earlier this month (June 2017), ClientEarth launched a High Court Challenge against the UK Government’s draft consultation on its plans to improve air quality, saying they contain “major flaws”.

Read more on air quality:

UK Government challenged over air pollution plans

UK-wide consultation on air quality launched

Government under fire after High Court defeat on air quality plan

Funding announced to improve London’s air quality

Image credit | iStock