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Long Covid SOS writes to Health Secretary Steve Barclay: The UK Is Running Out Of Clean Air

Updated: Mar 2, 2023

Today, Long Covid SOS signed a letter along with 20 other organisations calling for the government to pass legislation to ensure people using indoor public spaces are protected from airborne pathogens.

You can read the letter in full here

The UK Is Running Out Of Clean Air

  • A hard-hitting open letter was sent this morning to Health Secretary, Stephen Barclay MP from multiple organisations, charities and agencies in a call for a Public Space Ventilation Bill

  • The UK has been urged to follow other nations regulating and instigating clean air policies involving ventilation and filtration, including Belgium, France, Latvia, New Zealand, Italy, USA and Australia.

  • The Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill, (aka Ella’s Law) is currently passing through Parliament

  • It has been estimated that the government would free up billions annually and trillions this century, by installing a proposed programme of adequate ventilation, filtration and sterilisation systems.

  • Experts believe such a programme would bring an end to Covid-19 and mitigate future global pandemics

Dozens of UK charities and agencies including Long Covid SOS, Long Covid Kids and Long Covid Support have sent Health Secretary, Stephen Barclay MP an open letter urging the Government to pass a Public Space Ventilation Bill.

As Covid-19 continues to kill and disable huge numbers of people in the UK and globally, the agencies, organisations and charities have highlighted to the Government that airborne pathogens should be specifically named as a biogenic pollutant in Schedule 2 of the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill 2022-23.

They are requesting that every public space, especially vulnerable communities and high risk environments such as schools, upgrade their current ventilation and air filtration units and install visible CO2 monitors. They are also asking for a regulated max CO2 level of 800ppm and an open access online monitoring system with a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) score. In addition, Government ventilation grants for indoor public spaces should also be created. Other nations, including Belgium, France, Latvia, New Zealand, Italy, USA and Australia are already regulating and instigating Clean Air policies involving ventilation and filtration.

Unlock £3bn annually

Should the Government invest in the proposed programme, then it has been estimated that more than trillions of pounds could be saved this century. Seasonal viruses incur cost of £8bn

annually on the economy and pandemic viruses incur up to £23bn. Therefore, improved ventilation systems which suppress airborne infection would unlock an estimated £3bn of public funds, annually.

A Royal Academy of Engineering report commissioned by the Government's Chief Scientific Officer, Sir Patrick Vallance, calculated that failure to act on indoor infection control could cost the UK a total of £1.3 trillion over the next 60 years.

What the experts say

MIT nuclear engineer Charles Forsberg said: “History shows that most diseases are stopped by shutting down disease transmission…the most enduring way to stop transmission is via engineered health systems.”

Helen Lunt Davies, of Long Covid SOS said: “Living with Covid is unsustainable with the current level of infections and the numbers developing Long Covid. This situation is intolerable for people who are vulnerable and need to avoid infection. We must reduce community transmission to an acceptable level and the highest priority is indoor air quality. There is no downside to clean air, it will benefit everyone and reduce other pollutants, viral or environmental.”

Sammie McFarland, founder of Long Covid Kids said: “We don’t let children drink dirty water and they shouldn’t breathe dirty air. We all have a responsibility to safeguard the future health of the next generation.”

Claire Higham, Long Covid Support said: “Anybody’s life can be affected by Covid. It is the mark of a civilised society that we care for all. This means applying the technology we have to ensure Covid-safe air.”



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