Following air quality warnings in London, BRE New Homes and Communities Team Lead Gwyn Roberts explains how housebuilders can help tackle air pollution
In London yesterday the Mayor urged people not to drive as air pollution hit the capital, and only last week, the air quality was deemed ‘poor’ with pollution levels assessed as ‘high’. Parents were advised to ‘take care’ when taking their babies outside and to ‘take it easy’ when doing outdoor sports, cycling and eating al fresco.
In line with these recurrent issues, Sadiq Khan has just announced a £770 million cycling initiative to discourage car use, whilst in the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced £2.3 billion for new housing infrastructure, in order to attempt to control traffic jams and the poor health associated with pollution. This must be invested in sustainable transport options.
With these positive initiatives in place, we now need to ensure that where this money is spent on transport, sustainable options are favoured and that front-runners in the housebuilding industry are given the necessary recognition.
Reducing air pollution with sustainable transport links
Curo for example is planning a cable car to link its new development with the centre of Bath and Lumiere Developments, building the world’s most sustainable residential tower in Hemel Hempstead, is offering residents an on-site dedicated electric pay-as-you-go car share scheme which can remove as many as 25 cars for every one car share. The scheme also provides residents with electric bike hire as an alternative option. In Greater Manchester, there is a planned extension to the Metrolink tram to the Trafford Centre where 3,000 new homes are planned at Trafford Waters.
In the Home Quality Mark and BREEAM Communities (master planning scheme), both encourage sustainable transport options in new housing developments. This includes better provisions for walking, cycling and public transport as well as the installation of electric vehicle charging facilities. In Home Quality Mark this makes up part of the indicator scoring, assessing impacts on costs, health and wellbeing and environmental footprints.
New Homes and Communities Team Lead