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Southampton City Council deploys technology to monitor woodburner pollution

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Southampton City Council is beginning to monitor smoke emissions from woodburners using an air quality data service.

It is installing 18 Zephyr monitors from air quality specialist EarthSense in residential areas around the city and in neighbouring local authority areas to collect localised, real time measurement of PM2.5, a particular matter harmful to human health.

The council is feeding the data into EarthSense’s MappAir air quality model, along with data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Automatic Rural Networks, to provide visualisations of emissions and PM2.5 dispersion and pinpoint sources of particulate pollutions.

The measure is being taken as part of a campaign with the Environment Centre to educate the public about the harms of burning wood and encourage the use of more sustainable methods of heating homes.

Council officials and members of the public will be able to view and download the data, including alerts and 72-hour forecasts, through an online portal.

Enhanced network

George O’Ferrall, Southampton’s air quality projects lead, said: “To date, air quality monitoring broadly focuses on monitoring NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) at roadside locations. We recognised that the wood burning engagement project would really benefit from an enhanced network of monitors which captures PM fractions in more residential areas.

O’Ferrall continued: “The EarthSense Zephyr monitors have been able to plug this gap in our monitoring and give us the opportunity to use local data when engaging with residents to highlight how woodburning is affecting their health and the health of their community, encouraging them to take steps to burn less and burn better. The MappAir model has helped take this further with residents being able to get an indication of what air quality is like in any area of the city.”

The Environment Centre is a local charity which delivers the wood burning campaign across Southampton, The New Forest, Eastleigh, and Winchester. The campaign will use the data provided by EarthSense to show members of the public where air pollution levels are high due to woodburning.

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