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London Mayor’s air quality drive to include district energy focus

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has announced the first of 50 ‘air quality audits’ for primary schools in the worst polluted areas in London to help protect children from toxic air.

The work is to include an assessment of possibilities for incorporation of district heating and cooling schemes in order to curb emissions close to schools in the UK capital.

Mayor of London addressing schoolchildren
Paddy Pope, associate with global engineering consultancy WSP, who are conducting the audit, told Decentralized Energy that, as part of the investigation, his team are focussing on energy and the local impact it can have.

“This includes opportunities to reduce fossil fuel use.”

“For example switching to all electric heating and cooling systems which would eliminate local emissions as well as helping to decarbonise heating and cooling.”

Pope ruled out the need for use of particular decentralized energy technologies.

"We would suggest this is a more effective option for improving air quality compared to decentralized energy – which will generally rely on combustion of gas or wood – and so local emissions and reduction in air quality.”

“CHP (combined heat and power) systems also lock in carbon emissions, whilst an all-electric heating and cooling system will allow the associated emissions to fall as the grid decarbonises.”

The audits will be funded by £250,000 from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund and are set to be complete by the end of 2017, with reports ready by March 2018.

Mayor Khan, said: “It is shameful that children across London are breathing in toxic air simply by going to and from school and I am determined to do everything in my power to safeguard their health. These air quality audits are a big step towards helping some of the most polluted schools in London identify effective solutions to protect pupils from toxic fumes but, of course, this is only part of the solution. 

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