Bedfordshire gets major air pollution monitoring network

24 air pollution sensors which have 90% accuracy in comparison with existing Defra sites have gone live in the Central Bedfordshire Council region.

The sensors have been installed by Norfolk-based Westcotec in partnership with manufacturer Airly. The network provides open-access real-time accurate air quality information via an online live map link.

The monitor is a small device that records PM1, PM2.5, PM10, NOx gas, temperature, humidity, pressure and wind levels, and devices can be installed onto any existing or new infrastructure with a power supply.

Westcotec says the sensors can be used to inform diversion signs that trigger when pollution levels are high, and which will guide specific categories of vehicle, such as heavy goods vehicles and buses, away from at-risk areas at these times.

Central Bedfordshire Council senior road safety engineer Tim Oxley said : ‘This project provides a significant step forward in relation to the action we can take when air pollution levels are high,” he said. “We previously had to wait for data, meaning we were unable to make on-the-spot interventions. 

‘Now, by integrating the real-time data with other roadside technology, we can take immediate action that will reduce exposure to high levels of air pollution — steps such as putting traffic diversions in place. 

‘We believe we now have an excellent opportunity to be proactive in dealing with air pollution and to minimise its impact on people in Central Bedfordshire. Looking ahead, we have a number of initiatives planned which relate to the air pollution sensors; for example, projects with schools, monitoring pollution from buses and traffic diversions using vehicle-activated signs when air quality levels require.’

Photo Credit – Westcotec


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