Consulting firm CBRE has signed a partnership to launch the world's largest air quality monitoring network in London, the AirSensa project. The project will see the installation of 10,000 air quality monitoring units that will be used to monitor and visualise urban air quality. CBRE will install units on all of its offices in London and lead an education programme for landlords on the AirSensa network.
In 1956 the Clean Air Act* became law in the UK, the act introduced a number of measures to reduce air pollution, and since then it seems that air quality has improved as cities are no longer covered in heavy black smog. However, as health organisations warn: even though the emissions of road vehicles and domestic and commercial heating systems are invisible, pollution nowadays is still just as dangerous as 60 years ago.
Research has shown that long-term exposure to this invisible air pollution can increase levels of heart and lung disease, asthma, and reduced lung capacity in children. In the UK alone, 30,000 people per year die prematurely early as a result of poor air quality. In addition to this, the air pollution costs the UK Government £16 billion per year.
As a response to the bad air quality, non-profit organisation Change London, commercial property and real estate services consulting firm CBRE and law firm King & Wood Mallesons have signed a partnership to help build the world’s largest air quality monitoring network: the AirSensa network.
The project aims at helping the capital improve air quality and public health through the monitoring and visualisation of urban air quality. To do this, the network will install up to 10,000 monitoring units placed on schools, commercial buildings and other infrastructure across London. The gathered data will be used to provide anyone who lives and works in London with detailed street level air pollution information, to provide free educational materials for schoolchildren of all ages, and to enable policy makers and planners to better understand pollution levels.
The first 500 monitoring units will be installed in the next six months, with the first statistics available to the public shortly after. “This new project will be an extremely valuable addition to our existing monitoring networks, and enable us to more accurately assess our progress, improve air pollution, and help protect the health of Londoners,” comments Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London.
As part of the partnership, CBRE will install monitors on its own offices in London. In addition to this, the firm will lead an education programme on the AirSensa project to encourage its adoption by commercial landlords. “Air pollution is a silent danger to all those working or living in large cities. As both a company committed to sustainable business practices and manager of so many buildings across the capital, we were very eager to actively support Change London‘s AirSensa initiative,” says David King, Chairman UK Asset Services, at CBRE.
* The Clean Air Act 1956 was an Act of the UK Parliament passed in response to London's Great Smog of 1952. This Act was followed by the Clean Air Act 1968, an Act that introduced the use of tall chimneys to disperse air pollution for industries burning coal, liquid or gaseous fuels. The 1968 Act was updated in 1993, which introduced designated smoke control areas.