Air quality and business – a call to arms….

By Guest Blogger

Keith Cotton, CrispAir

CrispAir has been working with the City of London and other authorities for the last 9 years on the issue of poor air quality. The founder, Keith Cotton, has worked on many initiatives that enhance the environment, health and community with a specific understanding of business needs. Now it’s time to look at the reality of the situation of poor air quality on the ground, disaggregate global and local operational impact alongside embracing the wider Global Sustainable Development Goals that need to be tackled…..

The ‘Red October’ sky covering much of the UK a year ago, and the dust we often notice on vehicles in the summer, are trans-boundary events with particulates in the stratosphere creating an apocalyptic aura but with very little impact to us at ground level. The profile of air quality, as an issue, has been raised over recent years in the press but don’t believe everything you read!
Instant answers, spurious half-science and ‘eye-catching’ headlines still prevail – so below is an attempt to rationalise the situation for businesses. Poor air quality, in a local urban context, is largely invisible. It is formulated of tiny Particulate Matter (PM) and gaseous Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – the evidence of their impact to human health is beyond question – click here.

The producers of this pollution (a result of combustion) are from vehicle traffic (predominantly diesel) and gas combustion through heating systems. There are other local impactors, namely construction sites and the inappropriate adoption of the STOR programme but mostly, if you have an office in an urban environment your air quality footprint will come down to:

• Transportation – how your staff get around – if you need a taxi contract make sure it’s electric or hybrid
• Built Environment – reducing gas consumption – gather information on life-cycles of the plant as a ultra-low NOx retrofit ‘lean-burner’ could pay-back in two years
• Supply Chain – reduce the number of vehicles visiting your site and encourage suppliers to deliver with low emission vehicles

The new Ultra Low Emission Zone, to be launched in April 2019 by the Mayor of London, and other local government actions will help but there is a need for clarification from national government and this is currently unstructured.

As when I started this work it needs your help – to raise the profile of the issue and get policy makers to stand-up to their responsibilities – we all have a part to play.

The importance of the issue and what we can all do…

This link shows a pollution map for the City of Westminster – Annual Mean NO2 concentrations (2013): The safe level for human health is 40 ugm-3 – so the parks are OK away from the main road!  (Source: London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory 2013, GLA and TfL)

Yes – it really this serious…

Particulates have long-term impacts to cardiovascular functions and neurological disorders. A more immediate impact, operationally, is from the irritant NO2 – this aggravates the airway and exacerbates allergen conditions such as hay fever.

So – If you have operations in central urban environments it is likely your staff and that community will be impacted.  Find out more by contacting:

Keith Cotton, Managing Director

CrispAir (a trading division of Crisp Solutions Ltd)
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: +44 (0) 7973 814275

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