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Why current UK air quality is not all bad news

Despite rising concerns over poor air quality in the UK

Despite rising concerns over poor air quality in the UK, leading health and safety expert Bureau Veritas has stated that it’s not all bad news, revealing that a record amount of money is being invested in initiatives to support the management of air pollutant emissions.

It comes as the UK government have announced a £100m funding pledge for research into low emission vehicles, along with a £840m pot assigned to ten city regions for improving public transport. At a more local level, the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund has made an additional £6m available for managing emissions in the city’s pollution hotspots. The government has even pledged up to £2m to support the uptake of e-cargo bikes.

Jamie Clayton, Principal Air Quality Consultant at Bureau Veritas, explains: “Almost every week new evidence is emerging around the health impact of poor air quality, ranging from links to early mortality to dementia[1]. This has been compounded by the recent update from the Committee on Air Pollution Effects (COMEAP) on the mortality rates associated with air pollution in the UK, with estimates of 28,000 to 36,000 deaths per year; an increase from the steady 29,000 estimated in the 2015 report[2].

“Everyone is in agreement that the management of air pollutant emissions in the UK represents a significant challenge at local, regional and national levels. The complex mix of pollutants in the air we breathe, from a range of sectors including transport and agriculture, makes it difficult to get a clear picture of health effects attributed to individual pollutants but there is a general feeling of growing concern. Those that have read the recent COMEAP update will also recognise the extent of debate amongst experts, just at a time when the public want a clear message on the dangers of pollution.

“As a result, there is a lot of confusion and negative press around air pollution but it’s important to recognise that there are a lot of positive changes being implemented as UK businesses and public sector bodies get serious about air quality management, not only for public health reasons, but also for the knock-on effect for other business growth opportunities.”

According to Bureau Veritas, real changes are also happening on the ground. For instance, the firm’s air quality team is currently working with a large number of public and private sector organisations to undertake feasibility studies, bring forward air quality compliance and assess the potential benefits of air quality improvement measures prior to implementation. Where initiatives have been implemented effectively, significant air quality improvements can and are observed, on occasion in quite short timescales. As a consequence of this work, the air quality team at Bureau Veritas are currently looking to grow with vacancies in both the London and Manchester offices.

Jamie added: “It’s important not to downplay the current scale of the air quality problem in the UK, however it is reassuring that the recent increase in awareness on air pollution has had the knock-on effect of increasing funding available for much-needed improvement initiatives. Combined with decisive action from UK organisations, this should go some way to ensure that in the future, air quality will not be all bad news.”

Bureau Veritas offers a team of air quality experts committed to providing best practice consultancy support for customers around how to assess and manage air pollutant emissions to ensure compliance, whilst maintaining economic feasibility. For further information, call 0345 600 1828 or visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/news/neurology/air-pollution-linked-to-dementia-risk/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nitrogen-dioxide-effects-on-mortality/associations-of-long-term-average-concentrations-of-nitrogen-dioxide-with-mortality-2018-comeap-summary

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Created in 1828, Bureau Veritas is a global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC), delivering high-quality services to help clients meet the growing challenges of quality, safety, environmental protection, and social responsibility. As a trusted partner, Bureau Veritas offers innovative solutions that go beyond simple compliance with regulations and standards, reducing risk, improving performance and promoting sustainable development. Bureau Veritas is recognised and accredited by major national and international organizations and works across a wide range of industries worldwide.
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