Green or Red: Compromising green credentials for London business

In a city where 6,000 businesses operate, you would expect that you may have to compromise your organisation’s green credentials if you want to hit the big time in London. However, there are many schemes in place that ensures that the city remains as clean and eco-friendly as possible, with even some of them incentivising your firm if you play your part in the wider environment.

As a broad overview, the City of London has a specialist team in place called the Environmental Health, Policy and Technical Officers. These individuals are responsible in not only enforcing the necessary standards in regards to pollution, waste and air quality, but they can offer advice to businesses on any relevant issues. These can be anything from contaminated land, water quality, drainage, radiation, noise, to even stray dogs.

Air quality has always remained a top issue for local councils in the capital city. This is because pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and other small particles can pose a major risk to human health, leading to major lung and cardiovascular diseases.

As more speculative developments emerge in the pipeline, London’s landscape may be ever-changing, but this can bring with it noise and air pollution. Action can be taken under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) in order to minimise dust emissions from activities. For example, demolition and construction processes can be investigated into when developing your commercial property to prevent dust from becoming a problem for neighbouring sites and the general public.

On a wider basis, The City of London Corporation has published an Air Quality Strategy 2011-2015, which outlines how air quality can be improved in the region. This includes minimising emissions from construction sites, increasing awareness of air quality and rewarding good practice.

This idea of rewarding employees and tenants is crucial when one considers one’s overall carbon footprint, rather than just air quality. This can be in the form of staff awards, employee discounts and recycling targets. Large companies will naturally find it difficult to keep tabs on worker behaviour but, for example, your monthly electricity bill should be an indicator on whether employees are wasting energy by running taps or keeping lights on.

Furthermore, annual inspections should be carried out by reputable energy-efficiency surveyors to detect exactly how energy-efficient your property is. By law, any commercial property larger than 500 sq m needs to display an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)somewhere on the property, which highlights the average energy consumption onsite. When looking for an energy efficient office to let in London, this EPC should always be your point-of-call. If in doubt, the coalition’s recently-launched Green Deal scheme will enable you to make energy improvements to your property at no upfront costs.

If you want to see your business grow organically in the capital city, but do not want to compromise your eco-policies, you need not worry. Both you and your local council will implement various initiatives to make sure that your business is praised not just for it’s commerce but it’s wider environmental considerations.


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