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Clean Air Day 2024: Tips for developers to mitigate the impact of air pollution

Pledging our support for Clean Air Day the UK’s largest annual air pollution campaign our air quality team share some tips for developers to help reduce the impact of air pollution for new occupants and the surrounding area.  

20 June 2024 | 2 min read

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The health impacts of poor air quality

Poor air quality is estimated to account for up to 36,000 early deaths in the UK each year, posing a larger threat to average life expectancy than both road traffic accidents and passive smoking. Known to cause respiratory diseases, such as asthma, and cardiovascular problems, it’s also linked with cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and dementia.

Take a look at our tips below for developers to consider during the design stage to help reduce the impact of air pollution.

 

Preventing exposure to air pollutants

  • Developing a car free development
  • Using zero or low emission energy systems like ground/air source heat pumps or solar panels instead of combustion sources such as gas-fired boilers

 

Minimising the impact of the scheme on the surrounding area

  • Limiting the number of parking places provided for the new development
  • Providing low vehicle emission infrastructure
  • Altering road layouts so cyclists and pedestrians have priority
  • Avoiding the creation of street canyons which can trap pollutants at receptors
  • Increasing the height of emission sources (e.g. flues or stacks) to increase the dispersion of pollutants

 

Reducing exposure for new occupants

  • Designing the scheme to increase the set-back distance of sensitive-use buildings (e.g., residential areas) from air pollution sources, such as busy roads.
  • Considering the need for mechanical ventilation and filtration in areas with poor air quality. If you are unsure, get in touch and we can help advise if mechanical ventilation would be required.
  • Installing air-tight windows (still openable at residents’ discretion)
  • Designing the scheme without indoor combustion sources that would otherwise add to occupants’ exposure, e.g. fit electric cookers

 

For more ideas, take a look at our insights on mitigating air quality impacts.