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Central London businesses sign air quality pledge

12 companies in capital presented with certificates by Victoria Business Improvement District for commitment towards tackling air pollution

Twelve companies in Central London have been presented with certificates in recognition of signing an air quality pledge to tackle air pollution in Victoria.

A joint initiative spearheaded by Westminster city council and the Victoria Business Improvement District (BID), the Air Quality Pledge Certificates were presented to the participating firms at an event in the capital yesterday (July 22).

The living wall at St. James' Court Hotel

The living wall at Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces’  St. James’ Court Hotel in Victoria

According to Victoria BID, it has worked with more than 40 companies in Victoria over the past year – including theatres, hotels, developers, retailers, charities, professional bodies and institutions – to address ways of improving air quality.

One of the firms receiving a certificate was Rubens at the Palace Hotel, which last year introduced a ‘living wall’ with pollinator-friendly plants to insulate the hotel building and cut gas boiler emissions.

Another of the 12 firms in the area, the Victoria Palace Theatre, set up an air quality monitor outside the building with the resulting data acquired available publicly via the London Air Quality Network.

The other 10 companies in the area that have signed the pledge are: Apollo Victoria Theatre; the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI); Caffè Nero; Capita; China-Britain Business Council; Grayling Communications Limited; Guoman The Grosvenor Hotel; Land Securities; The Passage; and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces.

Westminster council

Awarding the certificates, Westminster city councillor Heather Acton, cabinet member for sustainability and parking, said: “This joint initiative is a significant milestone in the progress of Westminster city council’s Air Quality Action Plan which we launched in order to encourage practices to reduce pollution and make Westminster a healthier environment for residents, businesses and visitors.

Westminster councillor Helen Acton presents the certificates yesterday (July 22) with Victoria BID operations manager David Beamont

Westminster councillor Helen Acton presents the certificates yesterday (July 22) with Victoria BID operations manager David Beamont

“Improving air quality in the city is a complex challenge and it will require continued cooperation and collaboration if we are to make the progress we all want to see.â€?

The initiative is supported by campaign group Clean Air in London and the NHS.

Victoria BID

In signing up to the Air Quality Pledge, according to Victoria BID, partner companies choose their focus from a list that includes: communications to raise the profile of air quality; promoting walking and cycling to staff and visitors; reducing gas consumption and installing low emission technologies to buildings; reducing the number of deliveries to offices in the supply chain.

David Beamont, operations manager at Victoria BID, said: “Our message is that simple, small changes to business behaviours can improve local air quality and reduce health risks to people whilst making businesses more efficient. Companies can explore using electric vehicles in their supply chain, encourage employees to walk and cycle, and examine their boilers as a first step to improving air quality. We ask our partners to embed air quality in procurement, environmental and CSR policies.â€?

Ruth Duston, chief executive at Victoria BID, said: “Victoria is going through an exciting transformation leading to economic growth. As one of the UK’s leading transport hubs creating healthy and safe environments for pedestrians is vital. Air quality is about well-being and better and more sustainable business environments.

“We look forward to working with our BID members as future Air Quality Champions to make the new Victoria a healthy place in which to do to do business, live and visit now and for future generations.â€?

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