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The Importance of Air Quality

By Claire Baldwin, Residential Marketing Executive, April 2021

The UK experienced a record decline in air pollution from traffic and industry in 2020 as a result of
COVID-19 lockdown measures. The PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
reported that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels and fine Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) fell by up to 50%,
which is enough to save 36,000 lives and prevent 5,600 new cases of childhood asthma.

Up to 7 million premature deaths are attributed to poor air quality every year. It’s linked to
significant health issues such as cancer, asthma, and strokes. There are also concerns that people
living in polluted areas, and suffering from these health problems, are more vulnerable to the
impacts of COVID-19.

However, as we progress into the new year, air pollution levels return to previously recorded levels,
and the UK government is on track to miss its 2030 legal targets. The law, set out in the UK’s Clean
Air Strategy requires the government to review its strategy to tackle major emissions sources like
road transport, agriculture, and domestic heating.

The European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), has ruled that the UK
has ‘systematically and persistently’ exceeded legal limits for dangerous NO2 since 2010. The UK
government is accused of ‘dragging its feet’ and ‘passing the buck’ onto Local Authorities to manage
their own Clean Air Zones.

Despite the growing evidence of health risks, Local Authorities have scrapped or deferred plans to
introduce Clean Air Zones. The pushback claims that the strategy is ineffective at reducing emissions
and is suspected of unfairly penalising low-income households, vulnerable groups, and small
businesses.

Local Authorities are being encouraged to consult with communities and businesses to realise a
clear, overarching vision for their areas. Meanwhile, BESA (Building Engineering Services Association)
is championing the need for monitoring and improving air quality within buildings to protect
people’s health.

BESA has introduced the ‘Beginners Guide to Indoor Air Quality’ to offer advice and guidance to
Local Authorities, engineers, consumers, commercial building managers, and policy makers to
optimising IAQ. This digital document can be downloaded for free and explains how the ventilation
and building services industry can turn buildings into ‘Safe Havens’.

Nuaire has a reputation for product innovations and a commitment to ensuring that residential and
commercial environments are safe places. We have a range of ventilation solutions to suit your
requirements and ensure that contaminated air particles from indoor spaces are filtered and
removed.

Contact us