Mayor launches world’s largest air quality monitoring network in London

Breathe London Map

The new air pollution mapping project Breathe London was launched by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan at a primary school in central London on Tuesday. The project involves a network of more than 100 advanced sensors deployed across the city to generate hyper-local data on the air that Londoners breathe each day.

Mayor Khan was joined by Deputy Mayor for Environment Shirley Rodriguez and greeted by pupils of Charlotte Sharman School and Baroness Worthington, Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe, the charity which has coordinated the project.

Breathe London Launch

To demonstrate the types of pollution found in the first data published by the project, the Mayor took part in a “particle game” with children joining hands to represent NO2 and CO2. Pupils also learnt about the impact on air pollution on their health, measuring their lung capacity by blowing up balloons.

Breathe London Launch
Breathe London Launch

Representatives from project partner Air Monitors demonstrated one of Breathe London’s state of the art ‘AQ mesh’ pollution monitors which is installed at the school.

The Mayor also joined students for a walk-through demonstration of a Google Street View mapping car equipped with special mobile sensors that are measuring pollutants approximately every 30 meters along over 1000 miles of London’s roads.

The event was followed by the first meeting of the Breathe London advisory committee which is formed of academic and NGO leaders, spanning environment, children and public health issues, committed to turning the project’s data into concrete solutions to improve London’s air quality.

Breathe London Advisory Committee

Coming soon: interactive maps and modelling

The Breathe London project will be collecting data across Greater London every day for most of 2019. Coupled with sophisticated modelling, we will learn much more about when, where and why poor air quality occurs across the city and be able to identify pollution hotspots – locations exhibiting persistently high pollution levels.

The ability to look at several local pollutants alongside carbon dioxide will provide us with increasingly detailed and robust pictures of air quality, helping us identify and understand sources of pollution. This knowledge in turn can be used to design solutions in the areas that need them most.

Breathe London will be sharing data and analysis with decision makers, stakeholders and the public over time. (To receive these, sign up for updates by email in the box below.)

“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,” said Baroness Bryony Worthington, Executive Director at Environmental Defense Fund, Europe.

“This will provide information for both the public and decision makers that can help drive better solutions to a problem that effects 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.”