Windsor Council under fire over air pollution monitoring

Residents and one councillor in England’s Royal Borough are calling for more accurate and comprehensive air quality measurements. 

Hundreds of people living in Windsor are demanding the local council updates and improves its air pollution monitoring infrastructure. 

brown and white concrete building during daytime

A study of the A308, a major road in the area, has already identified air pollution along the route is at the maximum acceptable level. Local resident, Thomas Wigley, has now launched an online petition demanding improvements to measurements, which has been signed by over 850 people in the borough, including one councillor. 1,500 names are needed to debate the motion at a council meeting.

Currently, measurements are taken at five sites across the area, including Maidenhead, Bray, and Windsor. However, only two of 13 possible types of pollutant are included, with this framework crucially leaving out fine particulate matter – PM2.5.

Widely considered by health experts to be the most toxic form of pollution, last year the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead Council’s own annual air quality report stated: ‘There is clear evidence that PM2.5 has a significant impact on human health, including premature mortality, allergic reactions, and cardiovascular diseases.’

Larger PM10 particles are counted by the monitoring system, but only at one location. The authority claims this offers a ‘good indicator for the whole borough’, but there is evidence that ambient pollution can be highly localised, with weather conditions causing some sites to have low concentrations, while others nearby give significantly higher readings.

‘We can’t say we’re doing well because we don’t know about the other nine variables and that worries me that we’re not measuring the right things,’ Cllr Helen Price told a local authority meeting on Monday 25th July. ‘That’s really important because of the consequences on health.’

Find out why the UK’s new legal limit on PM2.5 is ‘far from world-leading’

Image credit: Tadas Petrokas



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1 year ago

Windsor isn’t the only UK town with this problem, there are many and a real dearth of AQ monitoring, especially of fine particulate matter. Why is this so in 2022? The equipment is available, we can do better.

1 year ago

Quite right too. The traffic fumes in Windsor itself are always strong, makes shopping diffiuclt for anyone with asthma. Of course, Windsor is not the only town in the UK without adequate air quality monitoring. And some rural regions still have absolutely no fine particulate air quality monitoring at all. As your local authority and you will find out. If the council or government doesn’t meaure the air quality locally, how can anyone know the real levels? Thank you Martin for telling us.

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