Baroness Finlay opened the National Air Quality Conference (10th Nov 2021) with a stark warning, explaining “The measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 may have had inadvertent consequences on health by increasing exposure to indoor air pollution”.

The warning comes as the UK continues to battle high numbers of Covid-19 cases, with the uncertainty of another potential winter lockdown looming.

Addressing the Conference, Baroness Finlay spoke about the difficulties in balancing the need to support environmental issues with the need to protect health. Increasing insulation to improve energy efficiency can inadvertently lead to poor air quality.

Baroness Finlay, The Chair of the Board of Trustees
Baroness Finlay presenting at the National Air Quality Conference

Baroness Finlay said “There needs to be a holistic approach which balances sustainable measures with the impact on health, while also making best use of new technological solutions.” The CO Research Trust has identified this as the “Housing Trilemma”.

The first lockdown saw global improvements in air quality. However indoor air quality remain largely ignored.

Deaths from Covid-19 were 70% higher in areas with increased air pollution compared to the national average. Whilst in cleaner areas they were 40% less than the national average. A clear link has been established between outdoor air quality and Covid-19 - it is reasonable to assume that indoor air quality would have the same effect.

Baroness Finlay, The Chair of the Board of Trustees
Baroness Finlay presenting at the National Air Quality Conference

To read Baroness Finlay's blog in full click here.

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About Baroness Finlay - Chair of the CO Research Trust

Baroness Finlay is Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Velindre Cancer Centre and Honorary Professor of Palliative Medicine, Cardiff University. She established the Marie Curie Hospice in 1987, and the Diploma/MSc in Palliative Medicine in 1989. She is also lead for Palliative Care in Wales 2008-2017 and has developed wider bereavement support.

She is President of the Chartered Society for Physiotherapy; Vice President of Hospice UK and Marie Curie Care. She is Past-President of BMA, RSM and the Association for Palliative Medicine. Baroness Finlay is also an elected member of the BMA Ethics Committee and a Bevan Commissioner in Wales.

Baroness Finlay has chaired the National Mental Capacity Forum (England and Wales) for the Ministry of Justice since 2015. She became a Life Peer in 2001 and has been a Deputy Speaker since 2018. She chaired the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee on Allergy and is Vice Chair of various All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG), including the All Party Parliamentary Carbon Monoxide Group.

She is founder of think-tank Living and Dying Well 2010 and Chair of Alcohol Harms Commission 2019-present: report published ‘It’s Everywhere’ 2020.

About the CO Research Trust

The CO Research Trust (formerly the Gas Safety Trust) is a registered charity which was established in 2005. The vision of the charity is a world where people are not exposed to carbon monoxide (CO).

For more information please contact.

Natalie Fleck

CO Research Trust

Follow us: @COResearchTrust

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