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New business coalition joins Defra and campaigners to clean up air pollution

  • For the first time businesses are coming together to speed up progress on air pollution
  • Environment Minister Rebecca Pow calls for more businesses to join coalition
  • Leap in numbers of public who want clean air to be a UK priority
  • More than a third of the public want businesses to enable home working as a way of tackling air pollution

 

The UK’s first business coalition dedicated to tackling air pollution is launched this month (10 October 2019)

 

Eight major businesses (Philips, Uber, Engie, Octopus Electric Vehicles, Blueair, Ricardo, Canary Wharf Group and BP Chargemaster) have joined forces with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and air pollution campaigners Global Action Plan to create the Business Clean Air Taskforce (BCAT).

 

The BCAT’s mission is to tackle air pollution by speeding up the adoption of the many already existing solutions.

 

BCAT, which is also backed by the UK’s Clean Air Champion Professor Stephen Holgate, is calling for more like-minded businesses to join the initiative.

 

The taskforce will include Defra officials and aims to help achieve targets set out in the government’s 2019 Clean Air Strategy. It comes as new polling shows increasing public concern about air pollution, and what people think businesses can do about the problem.

 

According to Opinium polling commissioned by Global Action Plan, 52% of people think action on air quality is now a major priority for the UK, leaping from just 33% six months previously.

 

According to the polling, top actions that respondents thought businesses should focus on to improve air quality are:

  • enabling employees to work from home (34%)
  • improving the air quality in spaces they run, such as offices or shops (30%)
  • supporting employees to use public transport more (29%). [1]

    Environment Minister Rebecca Pow says:
  • “We know the impact that air pollution has on communities across the UK, which is why, as we set out in the Clean Air Strategy, the government and all parts of society need to come together to tackle this problem.

 

“The Business Clean Air Taskforce sets an excellent example of businesses, campaigners, and government working collaboratively to deliver clean air for the future, and I hope that more like-minded businesses will be encouraged to sign up to do their bit to continue to improve air quality across the UK.”

 

Says Chris Large, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan:

“Businesses already provide many of the solutions to our air pollution problem. We just need to choose to use them. This taskforce will help more people to do the things that will cut air pollution: drive less, switch to electric vehicles and reduce activity that makes pollution inside our homes.” 

 

"The public are increasingly concerned about air pollution, and the founder members of the BCAT are responding by saying, ‘We will help to make the air in your workplaces, homes and communities healthier to breathe.’”

 

 

Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council Clinical Professor at the University of Southampton and the UK’s first Clean Air Champion, will advise on BCAT initiatives.

 

Professor Holgate says:

“To say we are in the middle of a major air pollution crisis is no exaggeration. Pollution is killing tens of thousands of people in the UK each year, it causes heart and lung diseases, and is linked to low birth weight and children’s lung development.

 

“This coalition that combines the capabilities of business, government and the third sector is exciting and has great potential to make a real difference to the air we all breathe.”

 

The first BCAT project will call on employers to reduce unnecessary vehicle miles, promote and enable more take-up of electric vehicles, and improve indoor air quality across the country. 

 

If you are a business who wants to get involved with BCAT, please email

Charlotte West, Strategic Account Director at: [email protected]