Institution of Civil Engineers group will focus on how the construction sector can help tackle London air pollution
Civil engineers from across the built environment have launched a new ‘taskforce’ to look at how the construction industry can help tackle air pollution in London.
Set up by the Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) London branch, the taskforce held its first meeting last week (February 25) to “examine what the construction and engineering industry can do to alleviate the issue of pollutants in a fast growing cityâ€?.
Led by former ICE president Peter Hansford – whose tenure as the government’s chief construction advisor ended in November 2015 – the taskforce will meet quarterly over the next 18 months to assess evidence and propose solutions.
Members of the taskforce include Clean Air in London campaigner Simon Birkett as well as representatives from the likes of Heathrow Airport, Highways England and construction firm Costain.
An interim report is planned for publication in January 2017, before the taskforce produces its final report the following September. Key areas it will look at include: transport; innovation and smart technologies; planning policy; industry practices and blue, green and energy infrastructure.
At its first meeting last Thursday at ICE’s headquarters in London, the group agreed that the construction industry “has a key role in determining how London reduces the amount of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides in the air, and is committed to developing robust, actionable recommendations for the industry, government and next Mayorâ€?.
“With engineers building and maintaining our infrastructure, it is vital that we acknowledge this issue and provide solutions for it” – Peter Hansford, taskforce chair
Chair of ICE’s London Air Quality Taskforce, Peter Hansford, said: “Finding a solution to poor air quality in London should be a major priority for the construction industry. Figures by King’s College London show that 52,000 life-years were lost due to anthropogenic PM2.5 in London. Nationally, air pollution cost the economy an estimated £15 billion a year.
“With engineers building and maintaining our infrastructure, it is vital that we acknowledge this issue and provide solutions for it – whether that’s by changing industry practices at construction sites, looking at making better use of the river and green spaces, proposing new projects or through smart technologies.
“We have a great team in the Taskforce, with academics, transport experts, industry leaders and environmental campaigners working together to assess what the industry and national and London government must do. We will examine the evidence with the aim of producing an interim report in the New Year, followed by a final report in September 2017.â€?