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Construction equipment to meet new emission standards

Mayor Boris Johnson’s new planning rules, which are designed to improve London’s air quality, will require construction equipment to meet standards for both particulates (PM10) and nitrogen oxides (NOX). The new guidance will be implemented from September 2015 by local authorities through the planning system. This is the first time any city has introduced rules for both particulate and NOX emissions, and is expected to result in a fall in emissions of approximately 40% by 2020.

Equipment that is over 10 years old will need to replaced or retrofitted on all developments throughout central London and larger developments in outer London (10 homes or more or 1000 ft2 in other developments), with occasional exemptions for specialist construction machinery. The new planning rules are also designed to improve the control of dust from construction and demolition activity, which can cause significant health impacts and is responsible for up to 15% of air pollutant emissions in London.

Boris Johnson commented on the new standards: “By replacing the oldest and most polluting bulldozers and machinery on building sites we can greatly reduce harmful emissions and boost our air quality. We’ve all walked past construction sites and seen thick clouds of dust generated from equipment that simply hasn’t been updated or replaced in decades. This new guidance will reduce NOX and is part of a series of strong measures including the Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020, that will greatly reduce London’s air pollution from all emission sources.”

Furthermore, Dr Claire Holman, Institute of Air Quality Management, said: “This is an important step in reducing emissions from demolition and construction sites that are both annoying and damaging to human health. These standards have rightly taken into account the impact on air quality and will be a key part of the planning process of new developments.”

Access the Mayor’s supplementary planning guidance (SPG) on the control of dust and emissions during construction and demolition here.

Addressing the construction skills shortage

In other news, £2 million of funding has been secured for a new programme that will address the captial’s increasing construction skills shortage. On average, approximately 1300 new skilled construction workers will be required in Greater London every year through to 2019 in order to fulfil the industry’s order book, meaning that around 6450 new workers will be required from 2015 – 2019. On 18 August the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) announced a new partnership with the London Enterprise Panel to work on providing a programme of skills and training activity tailored specifically to meeting the needs of the construction sector in Greater London.

The scheme will cover five core areas of development, including:

  • Supporting 500 unemployed construction workers to return to work.
  • Developing a shared work placement pilot for 100 people who are not currently in employment, education or training.
  • Developing specialist business development interventions for 700 participants from small construction businesses.
  • Providing support to London Boroughs that are interested in adopting the CITB’s National Skills Academy for Construction’s and Client Based Approach schemes.
  • Understanding the potential for researching the development of co-operatives between small construction businesses.

The scheme forms part of a wider Joint Investment programme by CITB, which aims to provide match funding to nine English Core Cities in a bid to promote and develop local construction skills.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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