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Air Quality for businesses

How businesses can help tackle air pollution

To mark Clean Air Day on Thursday 17 June 2021, we are asking local businesses to consider their impact on local air quality and also invite them to join a business-focused webinar on 17 June at 4pm, run by Global Action Plan. 

About air quality for businesses

Richmond Council works with businesses to consider practical ways that they can minimise their contributions to air pollution in the borough. This includes the Council bidding, whenever possible, for air quality project funding that may help businesses to be cleaner and greener whilst saving them money. It could include heating and cooling buildings more efficiently, increasing re-use and recycling, upgrading their fleet, and encouraging more sustainable operations and travel. Many actions have co-benefits such as healthier staff and the potential to reduce costs.

A presentation given to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce (pdf, 1.1 MB) provides more information about air pollution in the borough, including actions that businesses might consider taking, which are given on slide 23.

Our work with businesses

Much of the work we do with businesses centres on the following themes:

Clean Air Villages Project - Phase 3 (CAV3)

Richmond is one of 12 London boroughs together with four Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) that won a bid to participate in Clear Air Villages 3 (CAV3) - a project led by the Cross River Partnership which is funded by a DEFRA air quality grant. In our borough, the project will be focused on Richmond town centre and will be working in partnership with Richmond BID. It will provide free eCargo bike deliveries for around 10 to 12 interested businesses. If you think you qualify and would like to take part, please get in touch with the Senior Project Manager.

The project aims to help businesses recover from the COVID-19 lockdown with clean, free deliveries, which will have financial and environmental benefits. Richmond town centre was selected because it is an Air Quality Focus Area (AQFA) where population density and levels of air pollution are both high. The project has been adjusted in line with COVID-19 guidelines so that it is largely delivered online. The one year project will engage people and businesses via workshops (held as webinars during social distancing) with a focus on reducing costs and emissions. 

The Clean Air Villages website provides further information and examples of existing initiatives, including ways in which you can contribute to improved air quality and reduce your exposure to harmful pollutants.

Idling Action Campaign

Roadside engine idling is an avoidable form of air pollution. Reducing engine idling is a top priority for Richmond Council. We are encouraging all businesses to sign our engine idling pledge to help make the borough idle free.

To further this aim Richmond became part of a coordinated London wide scheme tackling engine idling, called Idling Action, a project funded by the Mayor of London's Air Quality Fund. Together with the Mayor of London’s team, we work with businesses to increase employee understanding of the causes and effects of air pollution. This includes fleet training to raise awareness about engine-idling and its impact on human health.

Work has been adjusted as a result of COVID-19, so the Idling Action London team launched their online #EnginesOff business engagement programme in August 2020. This includes a driver training video for businesses that covers the health consequences of pollution particularly that created by traffic, and tips on how to use vehicles more efficiently to reduce air pollution, help protect driver health and save fuel. You can watch the video online.

Resources on the Idling Action London Businesses website also include a toolkit with training materials, communication templates, and example anti-idling policies which can be edited to suit an individual company’s requirements.

If your business is interested in participating in the #EnginesOff campaign and/or would like support in reducing your emissions, email the Air Quality Officer.

eCargo Bikes for business deliveries

With the increasing number of home deliveries, electric cargo (eCargo) bikes are becoming the efficient vehicle of choice for many businesses and other organisations. An eCargo bike has a surprisingly large capacity and may offer significant benefits for deliveries. It can save money and save time. It can also reduce congestion and improve local air quality, helping Richmond achieve its aim of becoming a carbon neutral borough by 2030.

With the aim of helping businesses and reducing traffic emissions in the borough, we applied for funding to provide eCargo bikes to a small number of local organisations who were using cars and vans in their operations.

In May 2020, Richmond upon Thames was one of 18 local authorities across the UK who were awarded a grant by the Energy Saving Trust to enable the purchase of eCargo bikes. The 14 eCargo bikes funded by the grant were supplied to interested local businesses and charities, as well as for deployment within the council’s fleet.

Once COVID-19 restrictions permit, there are likely to be opportunities in the future for interested businesses to trial eCargo bikes at local events hosted by the council.

Updated: 26 October 2021