Grosvenor Britain & Ireland has become the first private sector organisation to join the London Air Quality Network (LAQN), Europe’s largest and most sophisticated urban air quality monitoring network, run by King’s College London.
Now in its 25th year, the LAQN leverages King’s specialist knowledge in air pollution science, toxicology and epidemiology to determine the impacts of air pollution on health and the causal factors. It works closely with those responsible for air quality management to support policies and actions to minimise air pollution health effects.
The scale of the urban air quality issue and its health effects requires action from all sectors of society; public and private and King’s are pleased to welcome Grosvenor to the LAQN.
Grosvenor is commissioning two new permanent air quality monitors on its central London estate, which spans much of Mayfair and Belgravia.
Modelling by King’s for the Mayor in 2013 indicated that all of Mayfair and Belgravia are above the UK limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2)*. Several locations adjacent to the estate and the major roads that bound it, including Marble Arch, Hyde Park Corner, Oxford Street, and Buckingham Palace Road, also fail both World Health Organisation and UK limits for particulate pollution (PM10 & PM2.5).
Recent research has shown a link between changes in the structure of the heart and exposure to air pollution even at levels below current guidelines, underscoring the scale of the challenge.**
Grosvenor has begun an ambitious programme of investments across its estate to improve air quality and quality of life for the residents, workers and visitors. Establishing a credible baseline of typical NO2 concentrations is a crucial part of this process.
Emily Hamilton, Senior Sustainability Manager, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland said: “The West End is the epicentre of London’s retail, cultural and leisure industries and deteriorating air quality in this vital part of the capital has been tolerated for too long. As a company deeply invested in the health of London we want to make a positive difference for the tens of thousands of people on our estate every day.
“The monitors will set an important benchmark and help us track the effectiveness of our interventions and as part of the LAQN we will be able to share our findings widely to help better understand London’s air quality problem.”
Frank Kelly, Professor of Environmental Health at King's College London added: “There is an urgent need to improve our air quality, especially within our congested cities and we need more organisations like Grosvenor to adopt forward thinking approaches to address this critical issue.”
Grosvenor is on track to reduce carbon emissions on its estate by 50% between 2013 and 2023. In 2017, the company reduced emission by 4,278 tonnes of CO2, equivalent to rainforest the size of 108 Regent Parks.
Recent interventions to improve air quality include:
Increasing electric vehicle usage: all suppliers are being encouraged to, and supported in, electrifying their fleet – 8 new charging points were added to the estate in 2018.
An ambitious programme to reduce traffic through consolidating deliveries to offices to just one a day. For the Grosvenor office, this cut vehicle deliveries from 23 a day to 1.
Consolidating waste collections – A single zero to landfill service currently provided to over 700 buildings which substantially reduces heavy traffic on the streets, waste loitering in public places and delivers a 60%+ recycling rate, nearly twice the London average.
Protecting existing and planting new trees in recognition of their vital environmental and visual contribution to the estate.
Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: “London’s toxic air is a silent killer – responsible for the premature deaths of thousands of Londoners every year. I am doing everything I can to combat air pollution and it is good to know that I can count on Grosvenor as we look to clean up the air we breathe.”
Emily Hamilton added: “We recognise the importance of using the unique position the company has to positively influence behaviours and outcomes for Londoners and the broader environment. Grosvenor will continue to implement stretching strategies to improve air quality in Mayfair and Belgravia, beyond the meeting of our target to cut carbon emissions on our estate by 50%.”
* Nitrogen dioxide is part of a group of gaseous air pollutants produced as a result of road traffic and other fossil fuel combustion processes. Its presence in air contributes to the formation and modification of other air pollutants, such as ozone and particulate matter, and to acid rain, which can have significant impacts on human health. The main effect of breathing in raised levels of nitrogen dioxide is the increased likelihood of respiratory problems, particularly in vulnerable people.
** Association Between Ambient Air Pollution and Cardiac Morpho-Functional Phenotypes is published in the journal Circulation https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.034856
For more information please contact:
Rachel Garstang, Head of Media Relations, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland
+44 (0)20 7312 6957
Notes to Editors
About Grosvenor Britain & Ireland:
Grosvenor Britain & Ireland creates and manages high quality neighbourhoods that are great places to live, work and visit. Our diverse property development, management and investment portfolio includes Grosvenor’s London estate of Mayfair and Belgravia and other developments in London, Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
We are part of the Grosvenor Group, one of the world’s largest privately-owned property companies, which develops, manages and invests in property in more than 60 cities around the world.
As at 31 December 2017, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland had assets under management of £5.2bn.