Leading UK safety charity, the CO Research Trust has called on the Government to change the focus of housing policy and look more closely at issues relating to indoor air quality.

On the 5th July 2021, the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCL) published the draft Building Safety Bill, which promises to deliver “ground-breaking reforms to give residents and homeowners more rights, powers and protections”.

The CO Research Trust says the draft Bill does not go far enough in ensuring that people in the UK are protected from indoor air pollutants. The charity is calling on the Government to refocus on the health issues associated with housing.

Baroness Finlay, the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the CO Research Trust said, “The CO Research Trust welcomes this renewed focus on safety within the draft Building Safety Bill, and supports the improved requirements for construction and materials. However, it is essential that careful thought is given to the overall health considerations within the built environment.

Good housing policy should strike a balance between safety and health, affordability and access, and environmental sustainability. All of these issues need to be considered as equally important.”

The CO Research Trust refers to this balance as The Housing Trilemma. How do we balance environmental sustainability and affordability and access and while still focusing on creating healthy homes?

This challenge has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the increased requirements for people to remain at home. A recent study has revealed that deaths from COVID-19 were 70% higher in areas with increased levels of air pollution.

Head of Charitable Operations, Adrian McConnell said, “It is critical that indoor air quality now be a major consideration in housing policy, particularly in light of this research which demonstrates a clear link to poor air quality and the effects of COVID-19.”

He continues, “Given what we know about air quality and COVID-19, it is clear that air quality is a significant issue, particularly in old housing stock or houses without proper ventilation.”

There are no ‘safe levels’ of air pollution, whether that is indoors or outdoors. Air pollutants are present in every home, however, there are large groups of people who are being put at greater risk due to the current housing policy approach. These groups are:

  • People who are spending the most time at home because they are shielding, who are already extremely vulnerable
  • Those living in properties that have been retrofitted with energy efficiency measures and that do not have adequate air flow and ventilation
  • Those living in properties with no access to a garden or outside space, who have no choice but to spend time indoors
  • Those living in older properties with old, inefficient or poorly maintained heating appliances
  • Those living in areas with increased levels of outdoor air pollution, such as cities and major conurbations

The CO Research Trust (CORT) has been supporting research and actively campaigning on this subject to prevent the health and safety factors being left behind.

The Trust believes that the issue of indoor air quality is now more critical than ever. The Government have been asking people to stay home to stay safe, when the reality is that for many people, staying home might be putting them at greater risk of health complications due to poor air quality.

-Ends-

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

natalie@coresearchtrust.org

Follow us: @COResearchTrust


To address the issue of health and the housing policy we have put together this blog post.

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