Skip to the content

London gets air quality sensor network


A network of air quality sensors is being set up around London to provide real time data in an effort to reduce pollution in the city.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced the project, named Breathe London, yesterday with a claim that it could provide a blueprint for other cities around the world.

The network of more than 100 fixed sensor pods has been installed in a partnership with Air Monitors, a specialist in the field, with the first devices having collected data since last November. The pods are mounted on lampposts and buildings close to known air quality hotspots and sensitive locations such as schools and nurseries.

In addition, two Google Street View cars have begun to take readings every 30 metres at tens of thousands of locations around London.

The data will feed into an interactive map available on the Breathe London website, showing the condition of air in different parts of the city and supporting more accurate forecasting of pollution.

A spokesperson for the mayor told UKAuthority that the next element of the programme will involve the use of wearable air quality sensors around the city.

Public crisis

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.

“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.”

Breathe London is being delivered through a consortium of the same name, led by the Environmental Defense Fund Europe and funded with £750,000 from the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation. It was devised by the Greater London Authority and C40 Cities, an international alliance that is working on ways to fight climate change.

The project will be followed up in April by the introduction of the ultra low emission zone for vehicles in central London, under which they will have to meet tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge.

Earlier this week the Greater London Authority released details of a survey showing that councillors in the city’s boroughs are greatly in favour of using data from sensors for environmental purposes.

By Albeins - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Register For Alerts

Keep informed - Get the latest news about the use of technology, digital & data for the public good in your inbox from UKAuthority.