Scheme launches national campaign to help combat air pollution in construction

Survey by Considerate Constructors Scheme reveals urgent need for greater awareness and understanding across the industry

The Scheme has launched its ‘Spotlight on…air pollution’ campaign 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.

Produced in response to findings from a Scheme survey, ‘Spotlight on…air pollution’ provides vital resources to enable the whole industry to tackle the far-reaching effects of poor air quality.

The survey, which involved over 600 respondents from across the UK and Irish construction industries, revealed:

  • 91% said air pollution is a nationwide issue.
  • 84% acknowledge there is an issue with air pollution in the construction industry.
  • 88% said the importance of minimising air pollution is being communicated to the workforce on their site.
  • 64% feel the industry is not doing enough to tackle air pollution.
  • 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.

While some of the survey results were encouraging, there are clearly areas for improvement and the need for the industry to work together to help reduce air pollution.

Hosted on the Scheme’s Best Practice Hub, ‘Spotlight on…air pollution’ provides a variety of practical steps, case studies, resources and regulatory information to help the industry address this issue in the short, medium and long term.

Practical case studies on how to address the issue include contributions from: Canary Wharf Contractors Ltd; Costain; the Institution of Civil Engineers; Interserve; Mace; Sir Robert McAlpine and TfL (Transport for London).

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 Scheme’s ‘Spotlight on…air pollution’ campaign provides 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.

Click here to read ‘Spotlight on… air pollution’