17 June 2021
London’s network of air quality sensors is continuing to grow with an additional 131 air quality sensors set to be installed at hospitals, schools and other priority locations making it easier for all Londoners to access reliable, localised, real-time air quality data.
An additional 131 air quality sensors are to be installed at hospitals, schools and other priority locations in the capital, revolutionising Londoners’ access to reliable data about air pollution in their local area. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will today mark Clean Air Day with a visit to the Royal London Hospital, one of ten hospitals with a sensor in place to monitor in real time the effects of toxic pollution, including high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which aggravates respiratory diseases.
The Breathe London Network, managed by Imperial College London and funded by the Mayor and Bloomberg Philanthropies and the boroughs, is an important part of Sadiq’s work to raise awareness of air pollution, making it easier for all Londoners to access reliable, localised, real-time air quality data. The additional sensors will bring the capital’s total to 322 sensors.
The theme of this year’s Clean Air Day event is protecting children’s health from air pollution and Sadiq is determined to continue doing everything he can to tackle poor air quality in London and protect the next generation – which is why he is expanding the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) up to the North and South Circular roads this October.
Poor air quality stunts the growth of children’s lungs and worsens chronic illnesses such as asthma, lung and heart disease. A landmark study of the impact of London’s air pollution found children growing up in the capital and exposed to air pollution showed significantly smaller lung volume, with a loss of approximately five per cent in lung capacity.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The focus of this Clean Air Day is on protecting children’s health – and we know toxic air pollution in London stunts the growth of children’s lungs and worsens chronic illnesses such as asthma.
“That’s why tackling air pollution in our city has been a priority for me since I was first elected in 2016 and I’m more determined than ever to do everything I can to consign air pollution to the history books.
“I’m really proud that a further 131 air quality sensors are set to be added to London’s network, and later this year we are taking the pivotal step of expanding the world-first Ultra Low Emission Zone up to the North and South Circulars later this year, which will improve the health of all Londoners and deliver a cleaner, greener and fairer city.”
The additional 131 air quality sensors, which are being installed in Sutton, Kingston, Merton and Richmond upon Thames, are being implemented as part of the South London Partnership’s InnOvaTe Project.*
Councillor Manuel Abellan, Chair of the Environment & Sustainable Transport Committee at Sutton Council, said: “Access to more accurate real time data will provide insights of overall air quality and congestion levels in the borough, and help build clear a picture of the environment and health of our schools and communities.
“We are committed to Sutton being a green borough, and we hope that as a result of the air quality monitoring, we will be able to develop schemes that can deliver an improvement in air quality and an increase in sustainable travel, leading to safer and healthier streets.”
Cllr Stephanie Archer, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport at Kingston Council, said: “Schools notoriously have parking and congestion issues, causing issues for residents as well as for emergency vehicles that may need access to the school and nearby properties. It also makes the streets dangerous for children to use and is then a barrier to people using sustainable modes to get to school. Engine idling is also an issue that is a major contributor to local air pollution that damages the health of everyone in the area.
“This type of monitoring will enable us to determine whether a School Street scheme is the right option for the school and importantly help compare air quality between schools across the borough. Access to more accurate live data will give us a clearer picture of overall air quality and congestion levels, helping us to identify pollution hotspots that can be tackled through School Streets or other schemes.
“We are committed to improving air quality in Kingston, and we hope that these new measures will encourage more people to travel sustainably, creating a safer, cleaner environment.”
Dr Gary Fuller, Senior Lecturer from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “The new Breathe London network of sensors across the city’s boroughs will help communities to understand the invisible air pollution that surrounds them. The air pollution that we breathe each day is estimated to be responsible for the early deaths of around 4,000 Londoners in 2019. Having a healthy city to live in is essential to London’s future. Action needs to be underpinned by sound science; to design polices, track outcomes and provide clear information to the public.”
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*Funded by the Strategic Investment Pot (SIP) as part of the London Councils Business Rates Retention scheme, the project uses IoT to address challenges in communities and identify opportunities to help people live better, healthier lives and live independently for longer.