Parliament to Investigate Indoor Air Quality

The Parliamentary Office for Science and Technology (POST) recently announced an upcoming workstream on indoor air quality. The announcement noted: “Poor indoor air quality can have adverse effects on health, such as increased risk of heart disease, stroke and respiratory infections.”

Policy Connect is delighted to see that work on the briefing will commence in May 2023 and is engaging with expert stakeholders to explore how best we can contribute to this exciting opportunity.

Official reports on Air Quality in 2022

Both the Committee on the Medical effects of Air Pollution (COMEAP), and The Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG), the two scientific bodies that advise Defra on air quality, reported on air quality in 2022. COMEAP concluded it is likely that air pollution contributes to a decline in mental ability and dementia in older people.

AQEG reported on Indoor Air Quality in November 2022, highlighting that the air in indoor environments can become toxic more easily and with fewer emissions than outdoor environments. These scientific reports, in addition to wider public awareness efforts, have cemented the link between indoor air quality and health firmly in the minds of the public and parliamentarians.

Chief Medical Officer calls for greater action on indoor air

The culmination of evidence and policy action reached new levels when Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty chose Air Pollution as the subject for his annual report. The report noted “over 80% of a typical adult day is spent indoors” and on the first page stated:

“Indoor air pollution is becoming an increasing proportion of the problem as improvements in outdoor air pollution occur. … A better understanding of how we can prevent and reduce indoor air pollution should now be a priority.”

Since the publication of his report, Chris Whitty has been actively calling for a greater focus on indoor air quality informed by monitoring and scientific research.  

Our response

Policy Connect and the All-Party Parliamentary Health and Carbon Monoxide Groups invite stakeholders from a range of sectors to share evidence and best practice that will inform parliament of what can be done to improve air quality and public health. We will be hosting a range of events and online calls for evidence to inform this work.

Further updates will be shared in due course.

Please email laura.fatah [at] (laura[dot]fatah[at]policyconnect[dot]org[dot]uk) if you wish to contribute.

Photo credit: Matt Koffel on Unsplash