BUREAU VERITAS MARKING CLEAN AIR DAY WITH EMPLOYEES’ AIR QUALITY SURVEY
Bureau Veritas is getting behind Clean Air Day on 16th June with a number of activities to help raise awareness and encourage our colleagues to think about the air we breathe.
Our specialist Air Quality team works with clients across many sectors, providing a range of services including air quality monitoring, permitting support, impact assessments and modelling support. Key sectors include nuclear, food, industrial, finance and renewables, as well as working on behalf of Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to run its Local Air Quality Management Helpdesk, an email and telephone support line for all local authorities, businesses and members of the public in the UK.
This month, the experienced team – which has a strong reputation in the air quality field – will also be marking Clean Air Day, the UK's largest air pollution campaign, bringing together communities, businesses, schools and the health sector.
Amongst the activities, we will be undertaking the first Bureau Veritas Employees’ Air Quality Survey, identifying pollutant concentration levels at colleagues’ properties to highlight the importance of good air quality to all of us. Together with a series of internal webinars, the team is hoping to get the BV community talking about air quality and help inform colleagues about what they can do to improve the air we breathe.
Good air quality is so important for our health, and the profile of air quality management has never been greater. Air quality impacts so many facets of sectors in which we operate, and it’s important that we use national and international initiatives like Clean Air Day to raise awareness. We’ll be using it as a way to get people within the organisation talking about air quality and also to shout about some of the good work we do in the air quality team.
We’re undertaking a diffusion tube survey at the homes of colleagues across the UK. Diffusion tubes are small plastic tubes with a rubber bung on each end. The bottom end is open to the air and once deployed absorbs pollutants. Various pollutants can be monitored using the tubes, our survey will focus on Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) – a key pollutant of concern.
We order over 1,000 diffusion tubes each month for contracts supporting Defra, the Environment Agency and various local authorities. Now it’s time to test levels in our own homes to help start a conversation about air quality.
“We originally wanted 40 volunteers, but the response has been so great that we now have over 70 taking part. We were hoping for a good geographic spread across the country, so it’s nice to see a couple of volunteers in Scotland and we’ll have a mix of rural and urban locations. It’s no surprise that air quality is worse in cities and so observing trends in larger urban areas is always interesting.”
“We all know the best bits of science at school were the practicals so we thought the best way to engage our colleagues in air quality was to give them some hands-on experience of what we do and to make it fun. All training and equipment will be provided, we just need to take advantage of the geographical spread of our colleagues and their desire to get involved in something a little different.
“The response has been great so far. Some people have mentioned they intend to get the kids involved to help as well, which is fantastic. There is already talk of trying to do a Bureau Veritas global survey next year.”
“We would expect lower NO2 concentrations in rural locations and higher concentrations in urban areas, but local sources, such as major roads or industrial facilities can buck the trend. In relation to human health, NO2 is measured against an annual average objective of 40 µg/m3. As we will only be monitoring for only two weeks, our results would not make the strict requirements that would be needed for one of our client reports.
“That said, the data will still be useful in providing an indication of how NO2 concentrations vary across the homes of Bureau Veritas employees. Once we have all the data back from the laboratory in July, we’ll organise another webinar session to go through the results and see who can be crowned with the best (and worst!) air quality in the UK.”
With an experienced team of more than 20 air quality experts, Bureau Veritas provides services for clients of all sizes across a range of sectors including: