Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum by the Building Research Establishment (BRE)


  BRE is a leading independent research and consultancy organisation and, amongst other activities, carries out a wide range of projects for the European Commission, national Government, and aerospace firms in the area of aircraft cabin environments. BRE is committed to improving the quality of the cabin environment for the benefit of all stakeholders. BRE is owned by BRE Trust, a registered Charity, whose objectives are through research and education, to advance knowledge, innovation and communication in all matters concerning the environment for public benefit. The Trust ensures that BRE remains independent of commercial interests, and safeguards BRE's national and international reputation for objectivity and impartiality in research and consultancy.

  BRE submitted evidence on ventilation provision in aircraft to the original inquiry in 2000 by the Committee on Air Travel and Health. Since that time, BRE has been considerably active in the field of air quality monitoring on board commercial revenue earning flights including those carried out under CabinAir (a European Commission Fifth Framework project),[60] and the Phase 3 study for the Department of Transport.[61] On this occasion we would like to comment on the original recommendations relating to air quality—specifically those relating to 1.26, 1.27, and 1.30


  Recommendation 1.26 calls on airlines to carry out cabin air sampling programmes from time to time, and to make provisions for spot-sample collection in the case of unusual circumstances. It is our view that:

    —    The issue of cabin air quality remains as pertinent now as it was then;

    —    Equipment for carrying out general air quality monitoring on board revenue-earning flights has been developed. However, lack of demand from airlines has meant that off-the-shelf equipment is not generally available;

    —    Collecting spot-samples during "unusual" circumstances has proved to be difficult. However, BRE is well advanced on this aspect. It is our understanding that the Department for Transport will be addressing this as a result of the Committee of Toxicity's considerations on "cabin air environment, ill-health in aircraft crews and the possible relationship to smoke/fume events in aircraft".

  Recommendation 1.27 welcomed the ASHRAE work on cabin air quality standard. The Committee may wish to note that:

    —    The US ASHRAE Standard is not yet published and is awaiting approval from the ASHRAE Board of Directors;

    —    The European preStandard prEn 4618 "Aircraft internal air quality standards, criteria and determination methods" was published in September 2004. This was a direct outcome of the BRE co-ordinated European CabinAir project (mentioned earlier) and the preStandard was prepared by AECMA-STAN (now ASD-STAN)—a CEN Associated Body which produces standards for aviation. This standard is the first of its kind for indoor air quality and thermal comfort in commercial passenger aircraft.

  Recommendation 1.30 asks airlines to review and modify their cabin design considerations to include air nozzles under personal control in newer aircraft. We note that:

    —    In general, newer aircraft do not appear to have these air nozzles;

    —    Our view is that air nozzles do provide a perception of "fresh" air to occupants, and that this recommendation is still as valid now as it was then.

20 June 2007

60 Back

61 Back

previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007