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Innovative air quality and traffic sensors installed in Richmond upon Thames

2 December 2021

Richmond Council is one of the first London Boroughs to install new Breathe London air quality sensors in priority locations across Richmond upon Thames, to give access to important data that will help provide a previously unseen detailed picture of local air pollution.

The 45 Breathe London sensors are being installed and will be situated in locations such as town centres, school streets and proposed new traffic scheme areas. For example, they are being installed around the Royal Parks, near East Sheen Primary School and near St Richard Reynolds College. 

As part of the InnOvaTe Project, some of the sensors are paired with Vivacity traffic monitors, so that – for the first time ever – we will be able to see real time and indicative data for air quality alongside traffic data. The sensors measure not only nitrogen dioxide levels, but small particulate matter (PM2.5) as well. Both pollutants are harmful to human health. This will allow a deeper understanding of different transport modes, movement patterns and their impact on air quality, and it is hoped will aid future schemes aimed at improving air quality. 

No personal data is collected, and the technology cannot be used for road traffic enforcement purposes. 

Breathe London is funded by the Mayor of London and aims to raise awareness of toxic air pollution across London, helping Councils to take action to improve local air quality. The data collected through Breathe London sensors is backed by a dedicated team of researchers at Imperial College London. 

Councillor Alexander Ehmann, Chair of Richmond Council’s Transport and Air Quality Committee, said: 

"We simply have to tackle air pollution, and the installation of both sensors will provide a granular picture of the links between transport, air quality and exposure as pollution levels change locally. The data will help shape our future policies and will also allow residents to monitor pollution levels in their local area." 

About the InnOvaTe Project: 

South London Partnership is working with London Councils to deliver an exciting and innovative Internet of Things (IoT) project across the five south London Councils of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton. 

This initiative is funded by the Strategic Investment Pot (SIP) as part of the London Councils Business Rates Retention scheme which is administered by the City of London Corporation, and hopes to improve people’s lives through the delivery of a multi-purpose Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which will connect various sensors across borough boundaries. 

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Up to: December 2021

Updated: 29 December 2021

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