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Focus on electrifying heating in buildings now for best air quality benefits

26 July – Converting all buildings to electric heating would bring more immediate benefits to air quality in UK cities than the plan for electric vehicles, according to consultancy WSP.

 

This would amount to around a 40% reduction in emissions, a similar level to what would be achieved if all vehicles were to become electric by 2040, following today’s announcement by the Government to no longer sell petrol or diesel cars from 2040. In Central London alone 38% of NOx emissions come from buildings using gas power.

Barny Evans, WSP associate director for sustainable places, said: “Today is an important step, but it will take a long time to improve our cities’ air quality by converting to electric vehicles. Alternatively we can phase out existing  gas-heated buildings today and make all new buildings electric with no cost implication and significant health benefits. It’s not possible for everyone to go out and buy an electric car tomorrow, but we can mandate that all new buildings are only electric.

“When we talk about air quality and health in cities we have to recognise that electric transport is crucial but only half the solution, and one that is dictated by technology advances. It would be faster and cheaper to improve the air we breathe through sensible electric heating policies that can take effect now as the technology is already available and being used.”

In 2014 WSP published a report that showed that if all transport and buildings were to become electric by 2030 in London, air pollution could be reduced by over a third, carbon emissions cut by 80% and noise pollution reduced significantly.

Notes to editors

WSP figures come from expected London emissions in 2020 from London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory. Graph below

 

For media enquiries please contact Tom Hawkins on 020 7314 4585 / tom.hawkins@wsp.com

WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.

With 7,000 talented people in the UK and Ireland (including Mouchel Consulting) and 36,000 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network. 

www.wsp.com/uk

 

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