The UK government has announced an investment of just over £5 Million to local authorities to tackle air quality and air pollution. The funding comes from the Air Quality Grant and this 2021 investment is more than double the amount awarded in 2020. It marks a decisive and welcome shift in priorities around environmental health.
Achieving a return on investment
The funding has been distributed to a number of local authorities (see the announcement by the UK government for more information). In particular, the fund aims to support applications designed to take action to reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5). The Air Quality Grant is also part of the wider UK Plan for Tackling Roadside Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) Concentrations.
Funded applications include behaviour change interventions to reduce emissions from car journeys, improvements to air quality monitoring, retrofitting public transport vehicles and Particulate Matter campaigning. One third of all funded applications explicitly mention air quality monitoring or the purchase of air quality sensors.
A project from Liverpool City Council will be using data gathered by pupils using portable monitoring devices, an exciting development confirming that some ambient monitors are now considered reliable and affordable enough to be deployed at scale.
The right tools to deliver on project objectives
In any project to improve air quality it is essential to identify the benchmark for your air pollution intervention, in other words you must accurately measure the starting point.
After the benchmarking, real-time monitoring is a requirement for any air quality project, to demonstrate the positive impact that is realised in the real world. It will also suggest the potential for future funding.
Most local authorities need low-cost screening devices that can be deployed at the roadside or along a perimeter. This is an application where the South Coast Science Praxis/OPCube is expressly designed to excel. It will monitor PM1, PM2.5 and PM10 as well as NO2 (selectable) in one compact and robust housing and uses the same independently verified data correction algorithm as it’s bigger brother, the Praxis/Urban.
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