Half of parents would move house to avoid air pollution if they could, research reveals

Air pollution exposure varies depending on travel routes or the time of day, research shows

Environmental charity Hubbub is calling on businesses to join its campaign to develop new initiatives to tackle air pollution and raise awareness of health risks

More than half of UK parents say they would move house to escape air pollution if they could afford to, while one in 10 have already done so, according to research by environmental charity Hubbub, which is spearheading a new campaign to cut air pollution and CO2.

The research, which was funded by banking group Investec plc, also found a fifth of UK parents are considering moving house to avoid air pollution, while a third said dirty air would be a factor in deciding which school their child attends.

But while the Censuswide survey revealed deep concern about air quality – 37 per cent said they felt it is getting worse, and 83 per cent worried about its effect on their families’ health – Hubbub said there was a lack of awareness about how people can reduce their exposure to pollution.

The charity recently teamed up with Kings College London to track 10 Londoners’ exposure to poor air, fitting them with pollution monitors while they went about their daily activities. The results showed their exposure varied significantly depending on modes of transport used, travel routes taken, the quality of the building they were in, and the time of the day.

Pollution levels were highest in confined spaces such as in vehicles travelling on congested roads, while Tube lines deep underground and poorly insulated buildings also showed high pollution levels.

Yet at the other end of the scale, exposure to pollution when walking or cycling on less busy routes was up to 10 times lower, while travelling at quieter times of the day also made a sizeable difference to exposure, said Hubbub.

In a bid to try and tackle the problem, it has today launched a new campaign – dubbed #AirWeShare – which is being supported by Investec as well as cleaning products supplier Bunzl, recycling firm First Mile, retail group Kingfisher, electric vehicle tech firm Innogy EMobility UK, and property developer Grosvenor.

The campaign is aimed at raising awareness of air pollution and fostering collaborative initiatives between businesses to try and find new ways of improving air quality the charity explained.

“Hubbub is now calling on more companies to join with us to deliver tangible changes that will reduce poor air quality in London, cut carbon emissions, create a greener city and act as an exemplar for other cities to follow,” the group said.

The move follows a study last week which found air pollution in UK homes is on average 3.5 times worse than outside, while earlier this year Friends of the Earth released a pollution map showing almost 2,000 locations across the UK suffer from levels of air pollution which exceed legal limits.

In London, authorities last month launched the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the centre of the city in a bid to try and tackle the problem, with early results suggesting the move has cut the number of worst polluting cars driving in the capital.

The government has also developeda wide-ranging air quality strategy that includes a raft of measures designed to reduce air pollution across urban areas. However, campaigners have repeatedly criticised the plan, accusing it of being under-funded and insufficiently ambitious.

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