Coronavirus (COVID-19) Adaptations Expert Advisory Group minutes: 1 December 2022

Minutes from the group meeting held on 1 December 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Professor Tim Sharpe, University of Strathclyde


  • Stephen Long, Scottish Futures Trust
  • Dr Chris Iddon, The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers
  • Christoph Ackermann, Foster Architectural Design and Engineering
  • Dr Alice Street, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Maria Rossi, Public Health Scotland
  • Professor Cath Noakes, University of Leeds
  • Professor Stephen Reicher, St Andrew’s University
  • Patricia PG Anderson, Health and Safety Executive
  • Penny Taylor, Health and Safety Executive
  • Chris Stewart, The Royal Incorporation of Architects Scotland

Scottish Government attendees

  • Judith Ainsley, Head of Covid Policy Unit, Covid Ready Society
  • Stephen Garvin, Head of Building Standards
  • Eann Munro, Scottish Government Central Analysis
  • Covid Ready Society Policy Officials, Directorate for Population Health
  • Safer Workplaces Policy Official, Directorate For Economic Development


  • Victoria Sanderson, Health and Safety Executive
  • Professor Linda Bauld, Chief Social Policy Advisor
  • Scottish Government Chief Surveyor
  • Scottish Government Chief Architect
  • Patrick Mackie, Local Authority Environmental Health
  • Neil Granger, Scottish Property Federation


  • Covid Ready Society Policy Official

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed members to an interim meeting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Adaptations Expert Advisory Group to allow for an extended discussion around CO2 monitoring following on from the third meeting of the whole group.

CO2 monitoring – Bradford school trials study

Professor Cath Noakes (CN) of the University of Leeds delivered a presentation to the group on early insights from the Bradfords school trials study looking at how display monitors can help with ventilation provision in UK classrooms and whether changes can be sustained over time.

The research involves 30 primary schools in Bradford; ten of the schools were given high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and ten were given UV purifiers, the other 10 are a control group with no devices.

CN committed to share the research with the group once it has been published.

Implementing CO2 monitoring in sectors

The Chair invited members to discuss the potential sectors and settings CO2 monitoring could be implemented.

It was agreed that increasing CO2 monitoring would be a positive step, but recognised that CO2 monitors are only helpful if occupants/building managers can act on the data i.e. if you can’t improve ventilation rates CO2 readings only give an indication that long term improvements to ventilation are required; it is not a solution to poor ventilation in itself.

The Group discussed the need for more pilots in different sectors and different environments. It was highlighted that CO2 monitoring may not be suitable in some areas e.g. a transient space with a regular flow of people may show low levels of CO2 due to the low density of people, but still have poor ventilation.

The Group agreed that without education and information CO2 monitoring wouldn’t be effective. People need to know what the readings mean; and when and which changes they should make based on the readings.

Some members highlighted the value of CO2 monitoring in public places to allow vulnerable people to make informed choices based on ventilation rates.

Members suggested a number of settings where CO2 monitoring would be most valuable e.g. care homes, primary care settings and prisons.

The Group also discussed the Obligatory Ventilation Control (OVK); a mandatory ventilation control currently in place in Sweden which requires all buildings to regularly check that indoor climate is good and that the ventilation systems are functioning.


CN provided an overview of the concept of observatories; a series of representative sample buildings monitored over long periods of time to provide data on performance, environmental conditions, behaviour and other factors. CN explained that they can be used to underpin long term changes, such as influencing changes to building standards, however they can take a long time to set up.

The Chair highlighted that observatories are in place in a number of EU countries e.g. France. The World Health Organisation (WHO) are interested in learning more about the concept from countries using observatories.

The Chair suggested that we hold a longer discussion on observatories at a future meeting with an accompanying briefing paper for members to consider.

Any other business, next meeting and close

The Chair thanked members for their time and valuable contributions, and noted the next meeting is scheduled to be held in mid-December.

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