Construction site

Health effects of air pollution

Exemplar construction sites for air quality

Developing best practice in tackling air pollution emissions on construction developments.

Key partnership information

Partner: Arup

Funding amount: £98,640

Duration: March 2021 – February 2022

Programme: Health effects of air pollution


What we’re doing together

We have funded Arup to establish up to four exemplar construction developments in Lambeth and Southwark that demonstrate best practice in tackling air pollution. This work will allow us to put findings into practice with deep partnerships in our boroughs, and better understand what is possible/practicable given real world constraints.

Through research and stakeholder engagement, Arup will develop a summary document including a ‘long list’ of best practice within the construction industry in relation to low emission equipment and technology including likely impact and cost of different options.

Arup and Impact on Urban Health will then identify potential developments that could benefit from incorporating best practice around minimising air pollution into their project. We are already working with Southwark Council on one of their upcoming developments and with Stanhope on the redevelopment of Royal Street. Each development will receive a tailored summary document to be incorporated into procurement requirements and tenders alongside a report detailing financial implications, air quality benefits, market availability and impact on local exposure.

We plan to evaluate the actions taken by each construction company, the benefits delivered, and any challenges experienced and mitigated against.

We’re really excited about this partnership and its opportunity to progress the construction industry’s efforts to tackle air pollution by working with forward-thinking construction companies and landowners.

Aims of the partnership

  1. Establish both ‘exemplar’ (where budget is less of a constraint and where we can improve on what is currently considered best practice) and ‘test bed’ (as good as can reasonably be expected given budget constraints – more likely to involve the application of current best practice) construction developments that mitigate against exposure to harmful emissions for vulnerable residents and workers in our place (direct impact)
  2. Use these partnerships and evidence of good practice to influence the wider construction sector (indirect impact)

Connection to our strategy

Construction contributes a sizeable proportion of air pollution emissions in Lambeth and Southwark.  This work will build on and complement our Construction air pollution research project, by enabling us to put research into practice and understanding what is possible and practical in live construction projects in our boroughs.

There are clear evidence gaps around what’s known regarding construction-related pollution – both regarding the problem and solutions. This project enables us to support forward-thinking construction companies and landowners by funding research and specific guidance from sector experts on options to tackle air pollution on a site-specific basis.

We also bring an ability to work across sectors using a range of levers to achieve a specific impact. These include our physical assets, such as Royal Street, our strong relationships with our local authorities, and other practical sites where we can test solutions.

More about Arup

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Ben Pearce

Have questions about our work on construction and air pollution?

Ben Pearce is our Portfolio Manager for the health effects of air pollution.

Contact Ben to find out more