Camden Borough Council aims to offer other London boroughs and cities around the world a blueprint to set a new standard for local real-time air quality monitoring.
The London Borough of Camden is installing what claims to be the world’s densest air quality sensor network.
The project aims to be a blueprint for other London boroughs and cities around the world and set a new standard for local real-time air quality monitoring and improve the health and wellbeing of the public.
Air quality specialist AirLabs will install 250 advanced AirNode air quality sensors across the borough, in partnership with Camden Council and the Camden Clean Air Initiative, an air pollution action group in the borough.
The network claims to provide at least 100 times more spatial resolution and refresh 60 times more regularly than the network of existing air quality reference stations in Camden, capturing and reporting hyper-local air quality data every minute to map the issue in real time.
It has been strategically designed to cover the entire borough of Camden, including areas underrepresented by the existing monitoring network and those most vulnerable to air pollution – schools, transport hubs, healthcare facilities and busy intersections.
Each device will measure a wide range of air pollutants including airborne particulate matter and toxic gases (nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and ozone (O3), as well as temperature and humidity, giving the full picture of air quality in an area
“Camden Council understands the importance of empowering the community to tackle this vital issue head on”
The data will enable more informed decision-making for all stakeholders interested in improving air quality in the borough, from councils, individuals and communities to schools, offices, hospitals, retail and hospitality businesses.
“Camden’s citizens have made clear that more must be done to tackle the air quality health crisis, and Camden Council has committed to the meeting the World Health Organisation air quality standards as well as stepping up our pollution monitoring and efforts to raise public awareness about the health risks from exposure to air pollution,” said Adam Harrison, Camden councillor.
“This project will form an important part of our work to protect public health by building a more detailed understanding of the sources of air pollution throughout Camden and the actions we can all take to reduce pollution and our exposure to it.”
The sensors will be deployed rapidly over the coming months and will complement the existing air quality monitoring network. Once introduced, the data generated from the network can be used in a wide range of ways, enabling the public to map less polluted routes from A-to-B, feeding into local traffic management policy and providing NHS Trusts and schools with information to help raise awareness of air pollution and protect vulnerable communities.
“There’s no time to wait in tackling the air pollution crisis – we all contribute to air pollution, and we all suffer the health impacts that it causes. This new information system empowers us all to enact data-driven change and become part of the solution,” said Marc Ottolini, CEO of AirLabs.
“Camden Council understands the importance of empowering the community to tackle this vital issue head on. This network will serve as a blueprint for boroughs across London and cities around the world, using the power of data to inform meaningful action and protect populations from the invisible threat of air pollution.”
“Camden’s citizens have made clear that more must be done to tackle the air quality health crisis”
Devices will be optimally spaced to identify and differentiate between different sources of pollution, including whether they are localised sources such as road traffic and wood-burning, or regional sources such as industry. The devices will be installed on lampposts, buildings and other suitable infrastructure and take measurements every minute enabling detection of the smallest of changes.
The announcement of the network follows a recent coroner’s ruling which called on government and local authorities to increase air quality monitoring and to do more to raise public awareness of the health risks from air pollution exposure.
Jeffrey Young, CEO of Camden Clean Air Initiative said: “Two key elements of the Camden Clean Air Initiative’s vision when we were founded were to fill the borough with real-time air quality sensors and to put Camden on the map as a centre of excellence for sustainability and Greentech. By partnering with AirLabs we hope to achieve both these things.”