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Monitoring air quality

Brighton & Hove

This measure involved the use of static and mobile air quality monitoring equipment to record and analyse the impact of vehicle emissions. The data from this equipment was displayed in real time in the premises of nearby schools, participating in the project, and used as the basis for an educational initiative in the schools on the effects of emissions and pollution. Three schools in Brighton were selected to take part in the trials.

Pupils monitoring air quality in Brighton & Hove
Implementing sustainable mobility

At two of these schools, Balfour Junior School and Elm Grove School, air quality monitoring equipment was installed at road side locations to monitor emissions and pollutants from passing vehicles.  At the third school, St Bartholomew’s School, a permanent installation was not possible, so a mobile air quality monitoring unit was used on local roads. 

The roadside data was then compared to the ambient air quality data obtained from fixed air quality units installed as part of the project on the premises of the three schools, which collected details of the ambient pollutant levels for the area. 

The data which was gathered from these various sources was then displayed, either in real time or recorded, in the school premises on screens in public area of the schools for the benefit of the children, teachers and other interested stakeholders.

How did the measure progress?

The evaluation for this measure focused on the recorded air quality and emissions data, and the impact on children’s awareness and acceptance of the project and the themes involved.

  • The school survey from St Bartholomew’s School showed 100% awareness, and 70% acceptance of the project in the term following the monitoring activities.  A similar survey from Elm Grove School produced 100% awareness and 92% acceptance, while Balfour Junior School produced 100% awareness and 63% acceptance.
  • The sample base was not large enough to quantify modal shift to more sustainable forms of transport following the Walk to School week and the work that took place during the project.  However, it may be that similar work in the future at these and other schools could produce more significant and robust results.

The amount of monitoring data available has meant that it has not been possible to quantify a statistically significant difference between the before and after emissions and air quality data. 

What were the outcomes of the measure?

The following lessons were learnt:

  • The work undertaken has been successful in proving the new equipment development exponent of the project and has thus been a success.
  • The project has informed and assisted the pupils at the three schools involved in understanding the effects of emissions on pollution. By educational measures such as this project, changes in the travel to school mode to more sustainable means may be encouraged.
  • The measure as originally designed was intended to provide instant feedback on the emissions from their vehicles to drivers.  This project was thought to not be deliverable and was changed to a more educational one linked to schools in the CIVITAS corridor.  This proved to be very popular with the children and the teachers at the schools involved.

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