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Call for buildings to be clean air safe havens

17 February 2017

Proposals for a new Clean Air Act have been issued by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) and others, supporting the role of buildings as 'safe havens' to protect occupants from pollution.

Air quality has become a major issue for a number of cities around Europe and a growing number of organisations are urging action to deliver improvement.

Calls for an update to the Act, first launched 60 years ago, have been made by a coalition of environmental campaigners, health bodies and industry organisations, urging the government to address the issue.

Members of the group include the Royal College of Physicians, the British Lung Foundation, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and environmental legal practitioner Client Earth.

They are calling for the UK government to encourage more electrical vehicle use and improve air quality legislation.

British Lung Foundation chief executive Dr Penny Woods described air pollution as a "public health crisis" that contributes to 40,000 early deaths in the UK every year.

"We need a new, fair and ambitious Clean Air Act, with targets to slash pollution levels across the country and to remove the most polluting vehicles from our towns and cities," said Dr Woods.

BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin said a lot more can be done to improve indoor air quality (IAQ).

"A series of low cost maintenance measures to ensure ventilation systems work properly and incoming air is filtered and cleaned would make a major difference to the health and well-being of building occupants," he said.

A study commissioned by BESA last year showed nearly 70% of office workers believed poor IAQ in their workplace had a negative impact on productivity and well-being.

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