Air pollution monitoring in our Parish
Parish Council monitoring of air pollution shows that despite the impact of pandemic restrictions on transport, there continue to be locations within our parish that are close to the legal threshold for NO2 and the WHO limit for particulates.
Why is the Parish Council doing this?
We need to know the levels of pollution in our local area in order to understand the health risks for local residents, particularly schoolchildren.
Hard data on pollution levels will be one of the most powerful instruments we have in arguing for alternative approaches to travel and transport in our local area. It will also help us to resist badly-planned new developments that will generate more traffic.
What pollutants are being measured?
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter are the two most important air pollutants. Smaller particles under 2.5 microns (referred to as PM2.5) are more dangerous than particles between 2.5 microns and 10 microns (referred to as PM10). The Parish Council is building a monitoring programme for NO2 and PM2.5.
Traffic, especially diesel cars, is the main cause of these pollutants. But bonfires and inefficient wood-burning stoves can also lead to high levels of particulates.
Nitrogen Dioxide Monitoring
Nitrogen Dioxide is measured using diffusion tubes which record the monthly average level of NO2. The EU limit is an annual average of 40 μg/m3.
We have located a number of diffusion tubes around the parish. Locations and monthly readings can be seen by clicking here or on the image below.
Particulates (PM2.5) Monitoring
Last autumn we used a portable particulates monitor to carry out a series of readings
in Church Road, close to Leckhampton School. On 16 out of 24 days it was above the World Health Organization limit of 10 μg/m3.
Air pollution (from both NO2 and particulates) is worse in winter. We will be repeating and expanding these measurements around Leckhampton School this coming winter, to get a more detailed picture of air pollution levels close to our primary schools.
We are trialling a new particulates monitor from PurpleAir, and plan to install 3 or 4 more around the parish.
The pollution readings from a PurpleAir monitor are uploaded to a website in real-time. You can look at levels of particulates pollution in Leckhampton Road and Church Road by following the links or clicking on the image below.
Coming soon – portable pollution monitors
We are developing portable monitors for particulate pollution that schoolchildren can attach to their backpacks. This will enable parents to know the levels of pollution their children are exposed to, when walking to and from school.