Technology

Fresh air alert! Property website to display air quality ratings

Move comes as increased COVID-19 fatality rates highlight health implications of toxic air

Today the intelligent property finder SearchSmartly will begin displaying air quality ratings on every listing, a world first in line with rising public concern of air pollution health risks and the impact your address has on exposure.

The move is part of a new partnership with addresspollution.org, a citizen funded initiative by the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI) to tackle inaction on air pollution.

The news comes at a time when the health problems from toxic air have been highlighted. While vehicle traffic has fallen dramatically during the lockdown, a recent Harvard study found strong causal evidence linking higher levels of air pollution with increased COVID-19 fatality rates.

As the economy restarts and many shy away from busy public transportation methods, UK roads are set to become busier. So, it’s timely that SearchSmartly has begun displaying air quality ratings on all listings.

Addresspollution.org provides air pollution levels by address using a system similar to the EPC energy ratings for homes.

The rating system using data from King’s College London provides the annual average levels of air pollution at an address, and shows the potential effects of long-term exposure on human health. It also makes it clear if the property exceeds the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual legal limit for toxic air.

In normal conditions, over two million Londoners live with air pollution levels far exceeding this limit. Long-term exposure at these levels can cause a host of undesirable health effects, but those living in urban areas and near major roads are hardest hit. A recent study showed that living within 50 meters of a busy road increases the risk of lung cancer by up to 10% and stunts lung growth in children by approximately 13%.

Hesseltje S. van Goor, Head of Partnerships & COO at SearchSmartly, commented, “We’re proud to provide an unparalleled degree of transparency to those looking for a home. It’s all part of our mission to help people search smarter. But it’s also the right thing to do - everyone has a right to know what they’re breathing. We call on other property websites to integrate air quality ratings into their listings urgently as a matter of public health.”

Humphrey Milles, founder of The Central Office of Public Interest, added,

We launched Addresspollution.org to enable every Londoner to understand the quality of the air they’re breathing. This partnership is a game changer as it will help Londoners understand the issue even further, so they can make informed decisions for their own health and the health of their children. We hope this inspires others in the property industry to follow suit.

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