TAPAS, together with our sister clean air network Breathing Cities (FUVN), have been working together to initiate discussions for a national Observatory for indoor air quality (IAQ). A UK IAQ Observatory would provide essential longitudinal data to evidence the impact of the indoor environment on health. Data would enable effective interventions to be designed to improve public health, while at the same time providing evidence on building performance to support net zero targets and climate adaptation for the built environment. We have held 3 stakeholder engagement workshops to date and are now ready to engage with wider stakeholder groups. Read more about our proposed initiative here.
TAPAS was recently invited to visit UCL’s PEARL (Person-Environment-Activity Research Laboratory) facility and the newly built CAVE (Controlled Active Ventilation Environment) laboratory located in East Dagenham.
The day was hosted by Professor Liora Malki-Epshtein, the Director of CAVE, and was held together with the CIBSE Natural Ventilation Group.
CAVE claims to be the world’s first Controlled Air Ventilation Environment and will work adjacent to PEARL. By controlling conditions inside these spaces, the research teams can start to examine how people behave in different situations by simulating different lighting, smells, ventilation strategies, noises and building materials.
"It will allow scientists and engineers to understand how airborne particles – including viruses and pollution – move around transport systems and buildings from airports to theatres, enabling better designs that improve our health and well-being.”
PEARL’s Director, Professor Nick Tyler, has big aspirations to change the world with the pioneering research that is now possible thanks to these amazing sites.
From full scale train and bus experiments, to emergency evacuation planning and pandemic preparedness, the facilities at PEARL and CAVE will no doubt play a major role in future pioneering research.
The Environmental Audit Committee recently held an inquiry to establish the adequacy of current measures to promote and improve indoor and outdoor air quality and assess whether air quality targets are sufficient for protecting public health and the environment. Many of our TAPAS researchers, as well as our partner clean air networks and stakeholders, submitted written evidence to the inquiry and some were also involved in giving oral evidence.
Multiple experts giving evidence highlighted the need for longitudinal monitoring studies in buildings to better understand what pollutants are present, particularly secondary pollutants, and how they affect health. Professor Nic Carslaw highlighted that a sensible place to start would be in schools given that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.
Raising awareness of the dangers of poor indoor air quality, particularly from solid fuel burning in our homes, and highlighting the importance of ventilation in buildings to flush out pollutants, were also highlighted as areas that need addressing.
Tackling air quality in conjunction with the net zero agenda and integrating policies by bringing air quality scientists, health experts and the built environment sector together is a necessary step to really make progress.
You can see the full list of submitted written evidence here.
You can see the latest list of oral evidence transcripts here.
On 5-6 July over 200 air quality researchers, policy makers, industry partners and civic sector groups who work across the atmospheric, health, social and building science disciplines met at the University of Birmingham. Read our conference event summary to learn more about the work that was presented and discussed.
The TAPAS network hosted a workshop at Healthy Buildings Europe to discuss ‘Indoor Environmental Quality in Schools'. Complimenting the conference theme 'Beyond Disciplinary Boundaries' we invited speakers from across the globe to speak on this topic.
On 12 May 2023, the Future Urban Ventilation Network (FUVN) and TAPAS held an online facilitated workshop (hosted by The Collective) with key stakeholders to discuss the viability of a UK Indoor Air Quality Observatory. Key stakeholders were invited from across public policy, academia, funding bodies, and professional institutions. The workshop followed on from previous meetings, which took place in Paris, April 2022, and London, October 2022.
While a range of solutions to reducing air pollution in and around schools exist, there is little guidance to help schools implement them. That's why leading experts from TAPAS are calling for a clean air strategy for schools.
On 9 March 2023 we held our bi-annual TAPAS full network meeting in London. It was praised as a huge success from those that could join us on the day. We heard from several TAPAS researchers who talked on a range of topics, including computer modelling which can help us to better understand the indoor environment, tips and interventions for improving air quality in and around schools, and how we can effectively communicate this research to schools. We also heard an inspirational talk from Tracy Enger who heads up the IAQ programme in schools for the US. Environmental Protection Agency. Tracy talked on how her team in the U.S. have been working hard over the past 30 years to improve indoor air quality in schools to better health and academic outcomes for all students. A central part of the day involved our breakout sessions where we asked all attendees to firstly, discuss the future of the TAPAS network, and secondly, how TAPAS can better engage with industry. This created a wide range of interesting responses that will help focus our investigations for the remainder of TAPAS.
TAPAS proudly supported the inaugural 2022 World Ventilation Day which aims to raise awareness of the importance of ventilation as a crucial part of enabling health and wellbeing of people. It also seeks to recognise and celebrate the ventilation and indoor air quality community. The day was a huge success and TAPAS celebrated with researchers at the University of Cambridge who engaged students and staff in various ventilation activities.
SAMHE (pronounced 'Sammy'!) is an exciting new project designed WITH and FOR schools supported by the DfE. Poor air quality impacts pupils' health and concentration, affecting attendance and attainment. SAMHE will provide evidence for better national policies and practice. But more than that, it enables pupils to interact with real world data about their environment and gives them agency to take informed action. SAMHE is a collaboration between five UK universities (University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of York (through the Stockholm Environment Institute's York centre), University of Surrey, University of Leeds) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Our recent full network meeting was a huge success! A summary of the day's breakout session can be viewed by clicking the photo and video playbacks from some speakers have been uploaded along with presentation slides.
On 28th September 2022, Breathing City (FUVN), TAPAS and ICP-ERG jointly hosted an in-person event at White City Campus, Imperial College London, which engaged discussions from academia, industry, and public policy around 'Understanding IAQ for healthy buildings in a net zero world' and focussed on early career researchers and indoor air studies. We heard presentations across a range IAQ topics including monitoring, characterization methods, ventilation studies, modelling, IAQ health assessments and behavioural studies.
This September event was a follow-on event from a workshop held in Paris earlier this year (April 2022) where members of the TAPAS network, the FUVN network, the CSTB and the OQAI met to discuss national indoor air quality strategies in France and the UK. Read 'A Meeting of Air Quality Minds' below to learn more about the meeting in Paris.
In April 2022, members of the TAPAS network, the FUVN network, the CSTB and the OQAI met to discuss national indoor air quality strategies in France and the UK. The meeting of these four initiatives, together with invited experts from academia, industry and government science organisations, happened over two days in Paris and involved a series of presentations and workshops. A key focus of the meeting was on “observing indoor air” - how we can develop coordinated approaches to capturing data on indoor air quality at scale and over long periods of time and how this can be used to understand health effects and support policy and practice. The knowledge sharing and informative discussions will shape both the French and UK networks’ future indoor air quality studies and campaigns. Read more ....
Our recent full network meeting on 7 March 2022 focused on the topic 'Should air cleaners be used in schools?' and included a range of speakers on this topic. Thank you to our speakers and everyone who attended this interesting discussion. You can watch the recordings here.
Our TAPAS Collaboration Building Workshop (#TAPASCollab) has resulted in the funding of three exciting new school-facing research projects focused on improving air quality at school. The workshop ran from September 9-24th 2021, and saw 24 participants and 9 mentors across sectors and disciplines, come together to develop innovative projects which will engage pupils and teachers in improving air quality. Click here to read more about the selected projects and the teams behind them...
Our TAPAS colleagues at Global Action Plan estimate that 3.4 million children learn in an unhealthy environment.
“Schools should be safe places of learning, not places where students are at risk of health hazards,” said Dr Maria Neira, director at the World Health Organization. “These figures are unequivocally too high and harming children’s health. There is no safe level of air pollution, and if we care about our children and their future, air pollution limits should reflect WHO guidelines.”
Impact on Urban Health's new Health Effects of Air Pollution programme is interested in exploring how models may help us better identify impactful interventions to reduce air pollution in and around schools, while minimising the burden on school staff. Impact on Urban Health works in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark is open to opportunities to validate or test models in real-world school environments. Please contact TAPAS and we'll put you in touch with the programme lead to discuss possible opportunities or to learn more about Impact on Urban Health's 10 year programme to address the health effects of air pollution.