Refuse vehicles should be fitted with air quality monitors, says MP

Bin lorries in Edinburgh could be used to monitor air quality street-by-street, says MP. 

Edinburgh West Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine said she wants the council to install the equipment on its refuse vehicles as part of a drive to tackle poor air quality. 

Ms Jardine is also campaigning to improve the UK’s clean air targets and is currently proposing a private member’s bill at Westminster which would commit the UK to World Health Organisation standards on air quality. 

Ms Jardine said: ‘There are few things more important to our general health than the air that we breathe.

‘That is why I have been pressing the UK government to back my private member’s bill and tighten its national clean air guidelines in its upcoming consultation.

‘Alongside this, I have taken steps here in my constituency to get a grip of the problems in Edinburgh West, particularly the problems along both St John’s Road and Queensferry Road.

‘These air meters can play a vital role in identifying which areas need urgent action in the short term. I hope the council considers this and takes it forward.

‘The Covid-19 pandemic has made us all more aware of the benefits of fresh and clean air. I will keep pushing for commitments on both a national and local level so we can all breathe a little easier.’

Transport and environment vice-convener Karen Doran added: ‘We are committed to improving air quality here in Edinburgh. We have in place a robust Air Quality Action Plan which supports the reduction of harmful pollutants through a range of actions, including promoting cleaner transport, like buses, fleet recognition schemes to encourage lower emission freight vehicles and a move away from private car use to active travel.

‘Of course, our proposed Low Emission Zone will have a significant impact on air quality in some of the most densely populated parts of the city, and we’re hoping to introduce this early next year too.

‘In terms of the way we assess air quality, we have in place a well-established monitoring regime, with a network of monitors in place across key areas and hotspots, which are continuously reviewed and analysed. We’re also considering new sensor technology as a part of the Smart Cities project.’


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Why not put a permanent stationary AQ monitor outside every school and doctor’s clinic? Let them work continuously and report the live ongoing levels, as well as 24hr running averages, for a range of pollutants. Then we’d really see what is going on. Moving vehicles would be less reliable quite apart from any fumes they would be emitting themselves.

2 years ago

How long are such vehicles present in any one street and how will short reference periods translate for comparison against the AQS reference periods? The method doesn’t seem to correlate with the the assessment criteria to provide truly meaningful data.

2 years ago

Although I applaud the idea, I think the choice of vehicle is wrong. Collecting waste will cause PM10’s, PM2.5, VOC’s , Methane, obviously dependant on the waste being collected even if it is an electric vehicle.

Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top