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Sunday, 15 September

Air Quality Monitoring - Khan Helps Londoners Breath More Easily

Breathe London

January 15 saw London's Mayor launch the world's largest air quality monitoring network. Breathe London combines state-of-the-art technology and analysis to identify London’s toxic air hotspots.

Sensors will measure air quality in fixed locations around the capital and online real-time maps will help Londoners to avoid pollution hotspots. Meanwhile, two Google Street View cars will be equipped with mobile air quality sensors.

The data these monitors collect from across the capital will provide an unprecedented level of detail about London’s air quality crisis and deliver new insight into the sources of pollution. 

To deliver the project, the Mayor's Office has collaborated with the Environmental Defense (sic) Fund Europe and Google Earth Outreach, who have equipped two of their Street View cars with air quality sensors. These will take pollution readings approximately every 30 metres at tens of thousands of locations whilst they travel through London’s streets, building up a picture of London’s air quality over the course of a year and identifying areas of toxic air that the network of fixed monitors might miss. Meanwhile, 100 fixed sensor pods have already been mounted on lampposts and buildings close to known air quality hotspots and sensitive locations such as schools and nurseries. That number is set to grow - possibly in to the thousands.

 

Maps

The data generated by this new network will be available for the public to view on an interactive online map on the Breathe London website. The map will show Londoners the condition of the air they are currently breathing and allow more accurate pollution forecasting.

This project builds on London’s existing air quality monitoring network, operated by the boroughs and King’s College London. With more than 100 fixed monitors in use London’s existing air quality monitoring network is already the most advanced of any world city. The Breathe London project will augment this by providing the ability to identify hotspots all over the city wherever they might be.

 

Global reach

The project itself was devised by City Hall and the C40 Cities – the leading global alliance of cities committed to addressing climate change. Once this approach and technology has been proven in London, the goal is to see it introduced in cities around the world.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “London’s filthy air is a public health crisis that leads to thousands of premature deaths in the capital every year as well as stunting the development of young lungs and increasing cases of respiratory illness."

 

Toxic

Khan continued: “An issue this large and complex requires bold and innovative action, so I’m proud that we’re leading the world in establishing this new monitoring network – allowing Londoners to see the levels of pollution at a local level. This real-time data will also help us learn more about London’s toxic air and help us to put the right policies in place to continue our clean-up efforts. As a recent Aether report demonstrated, these actions will benefit all Londoners but particularly those living in the capital’s deprived areas. I hope the success of this scheme will act as a blueprint for cities around the world as they battle their own toxic air emergencies."

 

ULEZ

Breathe London will be followed in April by the launch of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London, 24/7, 365 days a year. Vehicles will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles, £100 for buses, coaches and lorries) to travel within the Central London zone - this is on top of the current Congestion Charge. ULEZ replaces the current T-Charge as of 8 April 2019. The ULEZ will be extended in 2021 to an Inner London zone which runs to but does not include, the North and South Circular roads.

Picture: Breathe London will be followed in April by the launch of the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London.

Article written by Brian Shillibeer

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