Northern Ireland news

Courts could find estate agents 'negligent' for not disclosing air pollution levels

The new tool allows people to check the levels outside their own front doors

COURTS could find estate agents 'negligent' for not disclosing air pollution levels, after a new tool has made data available for every postcode in the UK.

Rating system addresspollution.org uses 1.5 billion data points generated by air pollution experts at Imperial College London to allow homeowners to access a free air quality report for any address.

In Belfast, it reveals a sharp divide between the west and east of the city, with `bad' air clusters around inner-city postcodes at Clonard, Sandy Row and Dunville, as well as troublingly high readings at Balmoral and Adelaide off Lisburn Road.

Derry is recording `bad' air around Pennyburn Industrial Estate and the postcode areas of Newbuildings, Killea and Hazelbank, with `good' air at Culmore, Brandywell, Lisnagelvin, Drumahoe and Galliagh.

 

The data reveals that one in four UK addresses exceed World Health Organization (WHO) limits for air pollution and comes after a study estimated that 99,000 early deaths every year in the UK and 15 per cent of worldwide Covid deaths could be attributable to dirty air.

The addresspollution.org campaign is from the Central Office of Public Interest (COPI), which is attempting to force the disclosure of air pollution ratings by estate agents, property websites, surveyors and conveyancers in the same way they are already obliged to reveal deadly substances, such as asbestos.

A 20-page legal opinion it commissioned from Jessica Simor QC and Neil Fawcett says there is a "strong legal argument" that estate agents not doing so would be considered negligent.

Rebecca Marsh of The Property Ombudsman said housebuyers should be aware of air pollution "before they make a decision on a specific property".

Humphrey Milles of COPI said it is "a dangerous, invisible killer" and now the data is available "it would be shameful for the property industry to not start acting in an honest, transparent way".

The postcode search is available at: addresspollution.org.

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