Back to work… but not back to normal

It’s fair to say that the impacts of the lockdown on air quality have been noticeable, with air pollution levels falling significantly across many cities. But now the ‘big return’ is happening, poor air quality stands a chance of making its return as well.

For construction, manufacturing and all their associated logistics supply chains, this means a significant change to working patterns and new contagion risks for all. The potential air quality implications are significant and should be borne into account whilst trying to achieve the goal of restricting exposure to the virus.

The official government guidance includes recommending driving to work which clearly means increasing pollution levels, especially without any congestion charge, ULEZ controls and parking fees being waived. This is a harsh reality for us all as industry re-starts! The potential air quality implications are significant, and should be borne into account whilst trying to achieve the goal of restricting exposure to the virus.

A notable element of government guidance is to stagger working patterns, so as to reduce the number of workers on site. However, the work still needs doing, and this is especially pressing where contractors have been unable to renegotiate key deadlines. This necessitates longer working hours and staggered shifts. This not only increases the amount of time on site, but also the duration of air and noise pollution that comes from the site over the course of a day.

The logistics sector has performed admirably over the last few weeks in keeping goods moving around the country. But as the economy transitions from lockdown, new requirements will be placed upon them. Not only will you continue to pick up the slack from lockdown – e.g. more deliveries from supermarkets – but also need extra capacity and longer working hours to meet the demands postponed by the lockdown, such as delivery of materials to construction sites.

The big lesson of the lockdown for us is how it is critical for all partners to work closely together, and to learn the lessons quickly so that they can adapt. We see it being no different when emerging from lockdown. We simply do not know what the impacts of this gradual release from lockdown are going to be – we can only speculate, and plan for our own work after all.

Key to this will be data, and you already know about the power of the insights that our platform generates. This insight empowers you to learn about what is happening and its impacts, and how your decisions influence it.

Whilst we know what good air quality in our communities feels like we still need to find our way out of this crisis. And we can do this together. We sincerely hope new shift patterns and our way of working will be a fresh approach that considers respiratory health and well being.

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