Remote working practices ‘must continue to keep a lid on air pollution’

Charity Global Action Plan notes staff working from home post-lockdown will not only prevent a second spike of Coronavirus but would also avoid a fifth of all commutes by car

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Remote working practices must continue to keep a lid on air pollution.

That’s according to the Business Clean Air Taskforce (BCAT), which includes organisations Ricardo, Uber, Philips and ENGIE – the group surveyed 2,000 UK respondents and found in addition to its “clear benefits” regarding air quality in urban areas, continued remote working is also both achievable and popular among the public.

Charity Global Action Plan notes staff working from home post-lockdown will not only prevent a second spike of Coronavirus but would also avoid a fifth of all commutes by car.

The survey shows 87% of those currently working from home would like to continue to do so to some degree – around 41% of those working from home during lockdown  were not previously allowed to do so.

Across Greater London during the lockdown, nitrogen dioxide pollution decreased by around a quarter during the morning commute and 34% in the evening ‘rush hour’.

Stuart Sneddon, Ricardo Energy & Environment Associate Director for Air Quality Monitoring and Modelling, said “During the lockdown period, concentrations of nitrogen dioxide in many towns and cities across the UK dropped significantly, due largely to the dramatic fall in road traffic on the roads.

“Department for Transport estimates indicate that in some locations, car usage dropped to less than a quarter of pre-lockdown levels, with concentrations of nitrogen dioxide recorded at monitoring sites during this period showing up to an 80% reduction in nitrogen dioxide. As the UK gradually moves out of lockdown, our approach to travel, remote working, and selected mode of transport will be an important factor as we try to bring about sustained improvements in air quality. However, not all air pollutant concentrations are directly related to transport, so we should not be complacent that tackling this sector alone is the complete solution.”

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