WhenFresh partners with COPI on air pollution

Data specialist WhenFresh has teamed up with the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI) to share its new pollution rating system with insurers, lenders and the wider property sector.

The system uses data generated by leading air pollution experts at Imperial College London, based on 1.5 billion data points, and is accurate to 20 square metres.

According to WhenFresh, recent studies suggest an estimated 99,000 early deaths every year in the UK and 15% of all COVID-19 deaths worldwide are attributable to dirty air.

Each Air Quality Report reveals the levels of three toxic pollutants – PM2.5, PM10 and NO2 – at any given address and provides a Low, Medium, Significant, High or Very High rating, based around World Health Organization (WHO) limits, with nearly 8 million UK addresses exceeding said limits.

The rating system is claimed to be the first ever address-level air pollution dataset for the UK.

For the first time, the new air pollution rating system by COPI at www.addresspollution.org provides consumers with a free Air Quality Report for any UK address. Insurers, lenders and other commercial organisations can access this data via WhenFresh’s unique ‘Data Supermarket.’

Mark Cunningham, CEO and co-founder of www.Whenfresh.com said “it has become increasingly clear that air pollution has a major impact on people’s health and, with public awareness growing and this air pollution data now being readily available, it’s easy to see how this can also impact the saleability and value of properties in high pollution areas”.

“Much like the presence of asbestos or radon, or flood risk, if data is available that may materially impact the value and/or risks associated with a property, mortgage lenders, insurers and others interested parties will want and need to understand it,” he added.

“Lenders certainly take any environmental issues that might impact the value of the properties they effectively co-own very seriously.”

Humphrey Milles, founder of the COPI, said: “Air pollution affects everyone. It is a dangerous, invisible killer. With this national roll out, it would be shameful for the property industry to not start acting in an honest, transparent way. Lives depend on it. Everyone has a right to know what they’re breathing.”

COPI is also attempting to drive legal action to force the disclosure of air pollution ratings by estate agents, property websites, surveyors and conveyancers, similar to the obligations to disclose other deadly substances, such as asbestos.