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Capita Signs Up to Improve Air Quality

11th August 2014

Twelve of Victoria’s leading businesses and organisations have been awarded with Air Quality Pledge Certificates at the ‘Celebrating Improving Air Quality’event hosted by the Victoria Business Improvement District (Victoria BID).

The voluntary Air Quality Pledge Certificate is a joint initiative spearheaded by the Victoria BID working with Westminster City Council and supported by Cleaner Air for London and the NHS.

The 12 companies are: Apollo Victoria Theatre, The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Caffè Nero, Capita, China-Britain Business Council, Grayling Communications Limited, Guoman The Grosvenor Hotel, Land Securities, The Passage, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, The Rubens at the Palace Hotel and Victoria Palace Theatre.

Awarding the certificates Councillor Heather Acton, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking, said: “I would like to thank all the organisations here today for stepping up to demonstrate leadership in trying to improve air quality. This joint initiative is a significant milestone in the progress of Westminster City Council’s Air Quality Action Plan which we launched in order to encourage practices to reduce pollution and make Westminster a healthier environment for residents, businesses and visitors. Improving air quality in the city is a complex challenge and it will require continued cooperation and collaboration if we are to make the progress we all want to see.”

In the past year, Victoria BID has worked with over 40 companies in Victoria across diverse sectors including theatres, hotels, developers, retailers, charities, professional bodies and institutions to address ways of improving air quality. In signing up to the Victoria BID Air Quality Pledge Certificate partner companies choose their sector focus and where they can help from a pick list that includes: Communications - Raising the profile of air quality; Transportation - promoting walking and cycling to staff and visitors; The Built Environment - reducing gas consumption and installing low emission technologies; Supply Chain - reducing the number of deliveries to offices. All initiatives are designed to improve local air quality. The good news is that poor air quality is reversible.  

David Beamont, Operations Manager Victoria BID who heads up the pledge initiative said: “Our message is that simple, small changes to business behaviours can improve local air quality and reduce health risks to people whilst making businesses more efficient. Companies can explore using electric vehicles in their supply chain, encourage employees to walk and cycle, and examine their boilers as a first step to improving air quality. We ask our partners to embed air quality in procurement, environmental and CSR policies.”

A major challenge is that poor air quality is invisible and does not show up in the way it did in the 1950s with London’s pea- soupers according to Keith Cotton, MD at consultancy CrispAir.  “Invisibility is the real issue for business and the general population. How can you manage a problem if you can’t see it? Like most of London, poor air quality in Victoria is complex but broadly there are two pollutants of concern: Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Dioxide and two causes: diesel vehicles and gas boilers.  However any action to mitigate poor air quality has an almost immediate impact. If there is one good thing about poor air quality, it is that it is reversible.”

Victoria will be one of UK’s busiest transport hubs with the ongoing £700m Victoria Station Upgrade Programme.

Ruth Duston, CEO Victoria BID said: “Victoria is going through an exciting transformation leading to economic growth. As one of the UK’s leading transport hubs creating healthy and safe environments for pedestrians is vital. Air quality is about well-being and better and more sustainable business environments. We look forward to working with our BID members as future Air Quality Champions to make the new Victoria a healthy place in which to do to do business, live and visit now and for future generations.”

Twelve of Victoria’s leading businesses and organisations have been awarded with Air Quality Pledge Certificates at the ‘Celebrating Improving Air Quality’event hosted by the Victoria Business Improvement District (Victoria BID).

The voluntary Air Quality Pledge Certificate is a joint initiative spearheaded by the Victoria BID working with Westminster City Council and supported by Cleaner Air for London and the NHS.

The 12 companies are: Apollo Victoria Theatre, The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), Caffè Nero, Capita, China-Britain Business Council, Grayling Communications Limited, Guoman The Grosvenor Hotel, Land Securities, The Passage, Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, The Rubens at the Palace Hotel and Victoria Palace Theatre.

Awarding the certificates Councillor Heather Acton, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking, said: “I would like to thank all the organisations here today for stepping up to demonstrate leadership in trying to improve air quality. This joint initiative is a significant milestone in the progress of Westminster City Council’s Air Quality Action Plan which we launched in order to encourage practices to reduce pollution and make Westminster a healthier environment for residents, businesses and visitors. Improving air quality in the city is a complex challenge and it will require continued cooperation and collaboration if we are to make the progress we all want to see.”

In the past year, Victoria BID has worked with over 40 companies in Victoria across diverse sectors including theatres, hotels, developers, retailers, charities, professional bodies and institutions to address ways of improving air quality. In signing up to the Victoria BID Air Quality Pledge Certificate partner companies choose their sector focus and where they can help from a pick list that includes: Communications - Raising the profile of air quality; Transportation - promoting walking and cycling to staff and visitors; The Built Environment - reducing gas consumption and installing low emission technologies; Supply Chain - reducing the number of deliveries to offices. All initiatives are designed to improve local air quality. The good news is that poor air quality is reversible.  

David Beamont, Operations Manager Victoria BID who heads up the pledge initiative said: “Our message is that simple, small changes to business behaviours can improve local air quality and reduce health risks to people whilst making businesses more efficient. Companies can explore using electric vehicles in their supply chain, encourage employees to walk and cycle, and examine their boilers as a first step to improving air quality. We ask our partners to embed air quality in procurement, environmental and CSR policies.”

A major challenge is that poor air quality is invisible and does not show up in the way it did in the 1950s with London’s pea- soupers according to Keith Cotton, MD at consultancy CrispAir.  “Invisibility is the real issue for business and the general population. How can you manage a problem if you can’t see it? Like most of London, poor air quality in Victoria is complex but broadly there are two pollutants of concern: Particulate Matter and Nitrogen Dioxide and two causes: diesel vehicles and gas boilers.  However any action to mitigate poor air quality has an almost immediate impact. If there is one good thing about poor air quality, it is that it is reversible.”

Victoria will be one of UK’s busiest transport hubs with the ongoing £700m Victoria Station Upgrade Programme.

Victoria is going through an exciting transformation leading to economic growth. As one of the UK’s leading transport hubs creating healthy and safe environments for pedestrians is vital. Air quality is about well-being and better and more sustainable business environments. We look forward to working with our BID members as future Air Quality Champions to make the new Victoria a healthy place in which to do to do business, live and visit now and for future generations.

Ruth Duston

Ruth Duston

CEO Victoria BID

Image by Mickey Lee via Victoria BID


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