How can sensor data empower councils and citizens to address air pollution?



London Borough of Enfield, Future Cities Catapult, Local Schools

Enfield borough was declared an Air Quality Management Area specifically for the two pollutants Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10). Both these limits, which are set by the European Union and adopted by the UK government, were breached in parts of Enfield borough. As part of its Air Quality Management Action (AQMA) plan, the council are keen to work with ICRI-Cities to explore how a lower cost, highly distributed sensor network can be used to raise public awareness of air quality issues.

Focus research areas include:

Road traffic as source of pollution – building an evidence base in both high volume routes (M25, A10, North Circular) and residential areas.

Perception vs reality – measuring air quality in places generally perceived to have or produce bad air, such as the sewage works or a demolition company.

Human exposure – understanding human exposure over time to air pollution in sites that were frequented by citizens, such as schools, transport hubs such as bus stations, etc.

In 2014 we focused on deploying the test bed to validate the technical architecture, in 2015 focuses on community and stakeholder engagement to explore the use of the data being generated. A total of 80 air quality sensors were deployed throughout the borough, half on lighting columns, half on public buildings.