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Westminster runs pilot of air quality monitors


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Westminster City Council is close to completing a 12-month pilot project on the use of air quality monitors in streets around primary schools.

It has been using 20 EarthSense Zephyr devices as part of its School Streets scheme, working with engineering consultancy WSP and contracted infrastructure services company FM Conway. The latter has mounted the monitors onto lighting columns outside a number of primary schools.

Since last January they have been measuring concentrations of NO2 and particulate matter. When the monitoring period is complete the council will compare the NO2 measurements with traffic data and baseline data from September 2020 to January 2021.

By assessing each dataset, the council will correlate the relationship between traffic count, pedestrian movements and air quality and use this for gathering quantitative evidence about changes in air quality which can be attributed to implementing School Streets.

Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, Westminster’s cabinet member for city management and air quality, said: “Westminster has some of the highest carbon emissions and poorest air quality of any local authority and urgent steps need to be taken if we want to improve, especially so we can protect our younger generation.

“We want to create a safer, greener, and more pleasant environment for our residents and their families to live in, and this new School Streets project is one of the first steps we are taking in doing this.

“Not only will it encourage active travel such as walking and cycling and reduce the number of cars driving down school roads, but this trial will give us vital information about the impacts of air quality which will allow us to take more permanent steps towards creating a safer and more environmentally friendly experience,”

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