Air Quality Taskforce launch report to tackle pollution

The ICE London Air Quality Taskforce, led by the government’s former chief construction advisor Professor Peter Hansford, has launched Engineering Cleaner Air – a plan to help clean up London’s polluted air.

ICE London Air Quality Taskforce final report
ICE London Air Quality Taskforce final report

The report calls for an increase in pedestrianised routes, and how this could be managed to ensure pollution does not simply spill over onto neighbouring streets. It also highlights the use of new technologies to boost air quality, calling on London to become a world leader in electric vehicle usage and adopt new methods of monitoring air quality on the Underground.

The taskforce was set up to look at what civil engineers can do to help reduce London's poor air quality across transport, planning, water infrastructure, technology and industry practices.

To support these aims, the report calls for:

  • Increased use of vehicle consolidation centres
  • More pedestrianised routes
  • Embed a zero emission approach to building planning
  • Make air quality improvements a central objective of the new Energy for Londoners agency
  • Promote good practice air quality planning policy in neighbourhood plans
  • Incentivise use of commercial wharves along the River Thames
  • London should become a world leading city in electric vehicle usage
  • Monitoring Underground station air quality and ensure new stations contain air pollution reduction solutions
  • A Construction Logistics Plan should be produced as part of every development planning submission
  • The Considerate Constructors Scheme should give more weight to compliance with NRMM requirements as part of its monitoring and scoring system.

At the launch event the audience heard from a panel of speakers including Simon Birkett from the Campaign for Clean Air in London on the need to think ahead and what civil engineers can do now to tackle air quality issues.

Outlining the key points from the report, Heleni Pantelidou, Associate Director, Arup, highlighted the report's call to use new technologies to boost air quality, calling on London to become a world leader in electric vehicle usage and adopt new methods of monitoring air quality on the Underground.

There was general agreement that the industry as a whole had responded well on safety concerns but health aspects had been ignored.

The report has the backing of the Considerate Constructors Scheme. Chief Executive Edward Hardy announced plans to monitor air pollution at over 3,500 sites, companies and suppliers each year in the capital alone.

Commenting on the launch of the report, Professor Hansford said: "Our 10 point plan to improve air quality in London presents clear and achievable targets.

"The civil engineering industry has a significant role to play in reducing air pollution, helping to improve air quality for all residents and visitors in London.

Whilst our report focuses on London it can act as a blueprint for urban areas across the UK and around the world. This report should spur the action required by both policy makers and industry to make poor air quality an issue of the past."

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