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BESA backs use of Environment Bill for IAQ standards overhaul

BESA backs recommendations of new IAQ study into impacts of airborne pollutants on child health and urges stricter targets to be introduced and supported by industry

A new Environment Bill proposed by the government should be used to introduce strong, legally binding targets for improving Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), BESA has said.

The association said it hoped to see measures such as safe ventilation rates and thresholds for levels of certain pollutants in the air being introduced to the bill that was unveiled by government last week.

Another core recommendation from BESA would be to require air quality tests within the planning process for a building as a means to consider factors affecting IAQ.

This would include measuring and monitoring contaminants such as CO2, PM10, PM2.5 and smaller particulates. The government is also urged by the association to link Part F and Part L of the Building Regulations that are currently under review in order to better tackle issues such as overheating that can impact air quality, BESA added.

BESA’s calls for legislative reform builds on recommendations set out in a new report about pollutants in air from the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

A major focus of the report is the dangers posed to young people from IAQ on their health and development, with calls for government to implement a wide-ranging national strategy to improve air quality among its conclusions.

BESA’s Health & Wellbeing in Buildings Group has backed the recommendations in the new report, which would align with the association’s own ‘safe havens’ campaign. The campaign is intended to promote healthier, more comfortable indoor environments that can protect residents from air pollution.

Nathan Wood, who is chair of the working group, said that the government had the opportunity to introduce legislation that would better protect children’s health by establishing clear standards on air quality.

Rosamund Adoo Kissi-Debrah, a prominent health campaigner who is also part of the BESA Group and a World Health Organisation (WHO) advocate for air quality, has warned that the building services sector must do more to consider air pollution and ventilation needs.

Ms Kissi-Debrah has therefore urged the UK to adopt recommendations set out by the WHO concerning maximum permitted levels of air pollution into law. She has previously warned that these targets would be much stricter than the levels set by the EU, which the UK has failed to meet so far.

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