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Lobbying increases for improved IAQ

08 June 2017

Pressure is increasing for more attention to be placed on the issue of indoor air quality (IAQ), particularly from those involved in the Clean Air in London campaign.

Lobbying has been stepped up in intensity for the Mayor of London to include IAQ levels within the London Plan for buildings.

More measures have also been called for by campaign founder Simon Birkett, who has said that improving IAQ within buildings is the one thing that can be done "quickest and cheapest".

The campaign has reported that over 1,000 deaths in London this year have been attributable to exposure to poor quality air.

"Many roads in London have the highest concentrations of NO2 in the world," said Mr Birkett.

"A myopic focus on energy efficiency and CO2 has led to the problems we have now."

Support for including IAQ requirements within planning permission for new buildings has been expressed by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

It is hosting an event on National Clean Air Day on June 15, which will include Mr Birkett as one of the speakers.

He has also called for a new Clean Air Act to include IAQ measures and has stated that existing Building Regulation requirements for maintaining NO2 at a safe level should be enforced.

Mr Birkett has also stated that air filtration costs around 10% of the total expense of getting air into a building.

"The cost of filters is tiny compared to salaries and the impact of poor air quality on people's health and productivity," he said.

BESA chief executive Paul McLaughlin said tackling IAQ levels "can 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," he said.

A revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive by the European Commission has also seen IAQ considerations included, although doubts remain of how this will be implemented.

Draft legislation is continuing to be debated by legal teams that will require EU countries to consider IAQ levels when buildings are being renovated.

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