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GLA places air quality sensors around primary schools


The Greater London Authority (GLA) has launched an air quality monitoring project using sensors to measure nitrogen dioxide levels around clusters of primary schools.

It is testing the air levels in areas where its ‘school streets’ programme has been applied, closing surrounding roads to motor traffic at drop-off and pick-up times.

The GLA has installed 30 of the sensors around primary schools in the boroughs of Brent, Enfield and Lambeth. Half of the schools have recently introduced a school street so it will be possible to measure the differences in air quality with those that have not.

The sensors are part of the Breathe London network, which involves technology company Air Monitors designing and installing AQMesh air quality monitoring pods and analysers to operate inside Google Street View cars. The company is also responsible for the service and maintenance of the equipment.

Cambridge Environmental Research Consultants is responsible for analysing the measurements and data modelling to improve the understanding of London’s air quality. It has built an interactive map to help the public understand the data being collected.

The study – which is the first of its scale and has been co-funded by the FIA Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the GLA – will add to the evidence base to support the introduction of school streets across the UK and globally, and help build the case for making more of the temporary Schools Streets permanent. 

Need for solutions

Sheila Watson, foundation deputy director of FIA Foundation (an international body researches the safety and environmental standards of roads), said: “We must find the solutions which protect (children) from dirty air and dangerous roads and enable them to move freely and safely.

“Key to that is understanding what works, and that is why we at the FIA Foundation are proud to be supporting this assessment of the Mayor of London’s school streets programme, not just to find the right solutions for the children of this city but also to learn lessons for children in cities across the world.” 

Image from Reading Tom, CC BY 2.0


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