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GLA to fund air quality sensor network

15/12/20

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Greater London Authority (GLA) is to fund a network of air quality sensors around the city.

Air pollution drawing

It has announced the provision of £750,000 to install 100 sensors at priority spots over the next four years, in a programme to be managed by the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London and sensing and data analytics firm Clarity Movement, with further support from charity Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The announcement follows that in September for a smaller network of sensors close to selected primary schools in London.

The sensors measure nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter levels, weigh 1.2kg each and can be powered by a solar panel.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said they will largely be owned by the city’s boroughs as part of the Breathe London network, with local community groups providing input into their locations and having access to the data they produce.

The project will focus on reaching communities that research shows have previously been less engaged with environmental programmes, including low income and black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. This part of the project will be supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which also co-funds the Schools Streets evaluation programme.  

Major milestone

Khan commented: “This is a major milestone for our world leading Breathe London sensor network. Giving Londoners the opportunity to see the levels of pollution in their local area will improve awareness and help people reduce their exposure.

“It will also help City Hall, Transport for London and the boroughs better target efforts on improving air quality for all. As we face up to the current climate emergency, I hope the success of this scheme will act as a blueprint for cities around the world to battle their own toxic air emergencies.”

Melling Gao, chief operations officer at Clarity Movement, said: “The next phase of the Breathe London air quality monitoring project will not only empower London with data to better understand and respond to air pollution, but it will also serve as a blueprint for how governments worldwide can leverage affordable IoT technology to build healthier and more sustainable communities.”

The announcement follows a two-year pilot that has been judged a success.

Image from iStock, Shivendu Jauhari

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