New air pollution partnership for Oxford

Oxford City Council has launched a new joint partnership with OxAir to develop greater insights in to residents’ daily exposure to air pollution, and how best it can be managed.

The project with the local research group will combine data from portable, reliable, low cost air quality sensors with residents’ experiences to gain a greater understanding of when, why, where, and how they are exposed to air pollution. The project also aims to provide evidence to support behaviours/measures that can be taken to reduce exposure.

The air quality sensors will monitor human exposure by different modes of transport to identify peak times for pollution. Sensors will also be deployed at schools across Oxford to monitor air quality at the school gates during drop off/pick up times.

The council has secured £128,500 Government funding from The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to support the project.

Tom Hayes, cabinet member for a Zero Carbon Oxford, said: “There is no safe level of air pollution, so we’re aiming for the legal level but also beyond. However, we’re only going to get to this lowest possible level of pollution if we have the best possible picture of the state of the city. OxAir will give us that picture—it will lead us to measures that give everyone the highest quality and quantity of life.

“The health of the city’s children is a particular priority for us—we’re going to monitor air quality at places such as our school gates, so we can figure out just how much effort we need to put into encouraging parents to ditch the car for the school run. Dirty air is making people sick, yet simple changes, made possible by clear information, can stop you breathing in harmful air.”