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Pollution to become a key consideration for homebuyers

A new website and advertising campaign is seeking to make pollution as pertinent as crime-rates, and school catchments for homebuyers.

A new website and advertising campaign is seeking to make pollution as pertinent as crime-rates, and school catchments for homebuyers.

Funded by citizens, the campaign will feature billboards with slogans like “The neighbourhoods gone to the docs” and “Location, location, lung disease.” Renters and homebuyers will be able to look up pollution levels for the property they’re considering.

It’s hot on the heels of the UK’s biggest ever Clean Air March, which took place in Stoke Newington on Friday April 26. Organised by CleanAir4Schools, around 500 people marched down Church Street and Albion Road to Clissold Park, urging Hackney Council to press pause on plans that will tip the grounds of one primary school over the legal pollution limit and worsen pollution at three others, including one that’s already illegally polluted at the façade.

Vicky Bibiris, a Partner at Location Location, said: “Friday’s march was the strongest demonstration that pollution is right at the top of people’s concerns, particularly those with young children.  Most of London has illegal levels of pollution and it’s only by highlighting how bad it is that we can begin to pressure councils and the government to take real action to bring it down.

“Increasingly homeowners are asking us what the pollution levels are on the streets they’re seeking to buy in – properties on quieter, less-polluted back streets command a premium but of course for many budget means they end up living on busier main roads and it’s vital action is urgently taken to bring pollution levels down to much safer levels on these highly-polluted streets.

“The good news is, with the Ultra-Low Emission Zone set to roll out to Hackney in 2021, experts expect air quality in the area to improve considerably but any action we can take in the meantime will only help.

“Awareness campaigns encouraging motorists not to idle, avoidance of wood-burning stoves which are known to be highly-polluting and a push towards cycling and sustainable transport are gradually making our neighbourhoods nicer and bringing pollution levels down.”

The latest campaign is being run by the non-profit advertising group the Central Office of Public Interest.

Humphrey Milles, who founded the group, said: “Like crime rates, wifi speeds and schools, we are going to make air quality a major consideration in the housing market, give everyone an air pollution rating for their own front door, and then the tools to act.”

Other slogans read: “These houses cost an arm, a leg and a lung.” The website will rate pollution on a five-point scale from low to very high and there’ll be a link where residents can contact their MP to ask for more cycle paths and charging points for electric cars.

Humphrey has crowdfunded over £27,000 so far to pay for advertising space.

Like crime rates, wifi speeds and schools, we are going to make air quality a major consideration in the housing market

Posted 2nd May 2019