Oxford council partners with research group to probe air pollution

Oxford City Council has partnered with research group OxAir to study residents’ daily exposure to air pollution, and how best it can be managed.

The partnership project will combine data from portable air quality sensors with residents’ experiences to gain a greater understanding of when, why, where, and how they are exposed to air pollution.

The project also aims to provide evidence to support behaviours and measures that can be taken to reduce exposure.

The air quality sensors will measure human exposure by different modes of transport to capture peak times for pollution.

The sensors will be located at fixed locations across Oxford as well as schools across the region to monitor air quality at the school gates during drop off/pick up times.

OxAir is looking for 8-10 local residents and local business employees to participate in the project over the next 6 months.

The group will meet three to four times over the course of six months and will aim to generate new knowledge about how air quality is understood, measured and communicated.

Visit www.oxair.org/getinvolved to find out how to take part.

The city council currently monitors air quality at 72 sites across Oxford.

Councillor Tom Hayes, Cabinet Member for a Zero Carbon Oxford, said: ‘There is no safe level of air pollution, so we’re aiming for the legal level but also beyond.

‘However, we’re only going to get to this lowest possible level of pollution if we have the best possible picture of the state of the city.

‘OxAir will give us that picture—it will lead us to measures that give everyone the highest quality and quantity of life. ‘

In January, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council published new proposals for a Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) in the city centre.

Under new phased plans, all non-zero emission vehicles could be banned from parking and loading during certain hours from 2020, while in a larger zone the requirement will be Euro 6 for buses.

The original 2017 proposals suggested high polluting private vehicles would be restricted from entering the city from 2020, but these plans have now been dropped following a public consultation.

Instead, the council say they will ‘accelerate’ the ZEZ from 2022 to 2035, and are ‘considering’ further measures such as a total ban on any non-zero emission vehicle entering the city centre.

Photo Credit – Pixabay