The Environmental Industries Commission (EIC) has today published a review of the latest research into the effectiveness of photo-catalytic treatments (PCTs) in reducing local air pollutants.
The report, commissioned by EIC and carried out global top-ten university Imperial College London, analyses all published results of trials of PCTs and includes modelling analysis by Imperial and leading environmental consultancy Temple Group on the potential de-polluting impact of PCTs deployed at scale.
Towards Purer Air makes the following recommendations:
- The forthcoming Defra Air Quality Strategy should include an assessment of the potential role of PCTs.
- Funding from the new Clean Air Fund should be made available for a number of controlled large scale trials in selected high-pollution areas, alongside further investigation into the potential of side-product formation.
- The Air Quality Expert Group should release an update to its 2016 report acknowledging the findings of the new analysis by Imperial College London chemists.
Commenting on the report, EIC director Matthew Farrow, said: “There is no dispute that PCTs are effective at reducing air pollution in laboratory-based tests. However, the issue is whether the de-pollution effect would be sufficient at scale in real world conditions to justify the investment, and whether we can ensure that there is no noxious intermediate formation that could pose a secondary health threat.
“The thorough analysis undertaken at Imperial College London is encouraging. The results from twelve larger scale trials that have been carried out in cities as diverse as London, Copenhagen, Rome, Manila and The Hague, together with modelling studies and a cost benefit analysis suggest that PCTs correctly deployed at scale do have a meaningful effect. The literature also shows a correlation between the activity of PCT product and tendency for noxious intermediate formation, which means that it should be possible to establish application protocols that ensure safe and effective deployment of PCTs.”
"Air pollution is a major environmental and public health crisis, responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually. No-one is suggesting that PCTs are the proverbial ‘silver bullet’, but we believe no stone should be left unturned in tackling air pollution, and the analysis we are publishing shows that large scale trials of PCTs under controlled conditions would be a sensible next step for public authorities to take.”