Picture of a spotlight on a smokey exhaust pipe from a digger

National campaign launched to combat construction air pollution

Published:  05 March, 2018

A national campaign has been launched to tackle air pollution after a survey by the Considerate Constructors Scheme highlighted the need.

The Spotlight On…Air Pollution campaign aims to help raise awareness and understanding of how the construction industry can address the issue of air pollution from their activities in and around construction sites.

The survey, featuring more than 600 respondents from across the UK and Irish construction industries, found 84% think there is an issue with air pollution in the construction industry and nearly two thirds (64%) feel the industry is not doing enough to tackle it.

The survey also revealed:

  • 91% said air pollution is a nationwide issue.
  • 88% said the importance of minimising air pollution is being communicated to the workforce on their site.
  • 62% said their site has appropriate measures in place to address air pollution.
  • 56% have a good or detailed understanding of air pollution.
  • 39% have an average understanding of the regulations surrounding air pollution.

In addition to the devastating effects of air pollution on the health of the workforce and general public – which includes respiratory illness, asthma, bronchitis and even cancer – there is also a huge economic impact, with the cost to the economy as a result of health problems linked to air pollution estimated to be more than £20 billion every year.

Details of the campaign are hosted on the Considerate Constructors Scheme’s Best Practice Hub and include practical steps, case studies, resources and regulatory information to help the industry address this issue in the short, medium and long term.

Considerate Constructors Scheme chief executive Edward Hardy said: ’A staggering 40,000 deaths a year are linked to air pollution in the UK and many people are suffering long-term health problems caused by poor air quality.

‘As construction is a significant contributor to air pollution, it is essential for the industry to put measures in place to clean up our air by working together to reduce our impact on air quality.

‘The Spotlight On…Air Pollution campaign gives everyone within the industry access to a practical suite of resources including best practice, guidance and case studies from Scheme-registered construction sites, companies and suppliers on how to tackle this issue, as well as guidance from organisations including the Institute of Air Quality Management, Healthy Air Campaign and the Greater London Authority.

‘We are proud to be at the forefront of collaborative efforts to tackle air pollution, having partnered with the Institution of Civil Engineers to produce Scheme posters for registered sites, companies and suppliers to raise the issue of air pollution to their workforce.

‘The Institution of Civil Engineers has also recognised the value of the industry being committed to the Considerate Constructors Scheme, having highlighted Scheme registration within its London Air Quality Taskforce report published in 2017.’

Professor Peter Hansford FREng FICE, Chair of ICE Air Quality Task Force commented: ‘The Institution of Civil Engineers is delighted to be partnering with the Scheme for the launch of its Spotlight On…Air Pollution campaign. The Scheme offers a golden opportunity for the industry to up its game in relation to air quality around our construction sites and is a key driving force in helping to address this issue across the industry.’

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