Cambridge researchers are using their expertise in air quality sensors to support the new Breathe London project launched by Mayor Sadiq Khan earlier this week.

By combining fixed and mobile monitors, and by sampling air quality at so many locations, this project paints a far more accurate picture of air pollution across London

Rod Jones

Breathe London will use a range of cutting-edge fixed and mobile sensors to build up a real-time, hyperlocal image of London’s air quality.  The data these monitors collect from across the capital will provide an unprecedented level of detail about London’s air quality crisis and deliver new insight into the sources of pollution.

Professor Rod Jones from Cambridge's Department of Chemistry and his group are leaders in the development and use of low-cost air quality sensors, which have been used in projects around the world from Heathrow Airport to Beijing and Dhakar.  They are supporting the Breathe London project by providing their expertise in sensors and through the analysis and interpretation of results from the sensor networks and two Google Street View cars which have been equipped with air pollution monitoring equipment. 

The data generated by this new network will be available for the public to view on an interactive map on the Breathe London website. The map will show Londoners the condition of the air they are currently breathing and allow more accurate pollution forecasting.

The Breathe London project was devised by City Hall and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a global alliance of 90 cities committed to addressing climate change. The project has brought together some of the UK’s top health and scientific experts with leading technology companies and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Baroness Bryony Worthington, Executive Director of the Environmental Defense Fund, said: “The Breathe London partnership is breaking new ground. We’re developing new scientific approaches using the latest technologies to explore London’s air quality in unprecedented detail.

“This will provide information for both the public and decision makers that can help drive better solutions to a problem that affects every Londoner. The support of Mayor Khan, C40 Cities, CIFF and all the partners has been invaluable and together we hope to advance air quality management in London, the UK and cities worldwide."

“By combining fixed and mobile monitors, and by sampling air quality at so many locations, this project paints a far more accurate picture of air pollution across London,” said Jones. “Air pollution is a complex challenge, affected by many different factors, so getting the best possible data is vital. I’m especially looking forward to the possibility of replicating this project in other cities around the world.”

The project is funded by the Clean Air Fund at the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and managed by C40 Cities.

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