The picture shows the incoming air filter in the heat recovery ventilation unit in my London house after 6 months. Considering the quiet residential location of the house, I think most Londoners would be shocked to see that there is this amount of pollution in the air that we breath. I suspect that the cause is diesel fumes from lorries, vans, buses and taxis.

I am currently looking for a University microbiology department that is interested in analyzing the filters on a monthly basis from several of the London houses we have designed to see what is contained in the soot collected by these filters and how the pollutants vary over time.

If indeed the main source is diesel, it would be interesting to know how the different diesel vehicle types contribute to the overall pollution. Is the biggest problem caused by the transportation of goods or of people?

Also I would like to know how much of the problem is caused by poorly maintained vehicles. If so, much tougher legislation against polluting vehicles, including extensive spot-checks on the roads and heavy fines, would surely be appropriate?

In due course I would like to publish the results of this investigation and start a campaign for action to achieve better air quality in the UK.

In most houses the internal air is less healthy than the external air, due to off-gassing of noxious fumes from many man-made materials in a modern home’s structure and in much modern furntiture. It has been established in Germany, that in a passivhaus built with ecological materials, by contrast the internal air is often healthier than the external air. One contributing reason for this is the fact that incoming air is filtered at the heat recovery ventilation unit.