Civil engineers outline 10-point air quality plan

Civil engineers have put forward a 10-point plan for tackling air pollution in London, including addressing emissions from construction projects and establishing vehicle consolidation centres in the city.

The recommendations have been put forward in a report ‘Engineering Cleaner Air’, looking at way to improve air quality in the capital, launched by the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) London Air Quality Taskforce in the city on Monday (2 October).

Construction sites have been identified as a key area to address emissions

Led by the government’s former chief construction advisor, Professor Peter Hansford, the taskforce looked at London’s ‘poor air quality’ across transport, planning, water infrastructure, technology and industry practices.

The report outlines solutions that both industry and local government could collaborate, including the adoption of new technologies and updated industry practices.

A key focus of the presentation was on construction. The report claims that construction and demolition can produce harmful emissions such as “nuisance dust, fine particulates and nitrogen oxide.”

It is recommended that a Construction Logistics Plan (CLP) should be produced as part of every development planning submission embedding good air quality as a key part of Health and Safety assessments.

It adds that industry codes and best practice initiatives should take greater consideration of air quality monitoring and pollution mitigation and adaptation when awarding construction projects.

Consolidation

Another recommendation in the report suggests that City Hall and TfL should make a long-term commitment to vehicle consolidation centres and provide strategic leadership in order to reduce the level of emissions from goods vehicles.

This should include “investing in new consolidation centres in construction, freight, waste, recycling, delivery and ‘last mile’ deliveries.”

Speaking at the launch, Edward Hardy, chief executive of Considerate Constructors Scheme – an independent organisation founded in 1997 by the construction industry – said: “Construction as a sector doesn’t want the image and reputation as one which is negatively impacting on the quality of air in London, or any other cities or anywhere else in the country. That isn’t good for the image or reputation of our industry.”

The recommendation comes after the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, last week called for additional powers to tackle air pollution from sources including construction machinery and domestic wood burning (see airqualitynews.com story).

Commenting on the report chair of ICE London Air Quality Taskforce, Professor Peter Hansford said: “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, our ten point action plan can act as a blueprint for urban areas right across the UK, and indeed around the world.

“However, we cannot achieve change alone. If we are to tackle air pollution once and for all, I really hope this report spurs the action required by both policy makers and industry to make poor air quality an issue of the past.”

The launch event included presentations by Simon Birkett, founder and director of the Clean Air in London Campaign and Heleni Patelidou, associate director of services group Arup.