Learning from lockdown: Could post-pandemic Britain be a breath of fresh air?

Asthmatic child in hospital with breathing difficulties

Covid-19 has given new impetus to those fighting pollution. Winning the battle would have far-reaching benefits, writes Petra Marko

The government has announced a £2bn package to create a new era for cycling and walking. It might be a response to the pandemic but the pledge is an important step towards putting people and the environment first.

Having advocated for recalibrating the “movement hierarchy” through the VeloCity project for the past three years, and not least as the parent of a pre-schooler affected by air pollution, I very much welcome the announcement.

In 2017, the Guardian released data showing that 802 primary and secondary schools in London are within 150 meters of nitrogen dioxide pollution levels that exceed the EU legal limit of 40µg/m. I was shocked to find that in our catchment area only one primary school is within the legal limit. After three years, more than a dozen hospital admissions and a cupboard stocked with inhalers, the invisible air around me has acquired a colour and a shape.

This is premium content. 

Only logged in subscribers have access to it.

Login or SUBSCRIBE to view this story

Gated access promo

Existing subscriber? LOGIN

A subscription to Building Design will provide:

  • Unlimited architecture news from around the UK
  • Reviews of the latest buildings from all corners of the world
  • Full access to all our online archives
  • PLUS you will receive a print copy of WA100 worth over £30 when it is published in December.

Subscribe now for unlimited access.

Alternatively REGISTER for free access on selected stories and sign up for email alerts