Ricardo and Slough council partner on school-based air quality project

Ricardo is leading a project to provide analytical insights to Slough Borough Council in order to assess the air quality in the area surrounding a number of schools.

The borough of Slough currently has five air quality management areas (AQMAs) with some being in the vicinity of a number of primary schools.

An AQMA is an area where the National Air Quality objectives are not likely to be achieved and thus local authorities need to put together a plan to improve the air quality.

Following a successful funding application by Slough Borough Council to DEFRA, Ricardo will work on a project focusing on this issue.

The project will evaluate the air quality in the areas nearby the schools and assess the use of the latest sensor technology against existing approaches of NO2 diffusion tubes, both in terms of accuracy and cost.

A particular focus for the monitoring will be the analysis of school drop-off and pick-up activities, and the impact of NO2 and particulate pollution over this period.

This project will build on Ricardo’s air quality expertise in supporting air quality monitoring measurement and analysis across the UK.

The installed systems will be comprised of 10 Vaisala AQT420 analysers and 5 Vaisala AQT410 gaseous sensors.

Air quality data will then be collected and analysed by Ricardo using their MODUS data management system throughout the project.

MODUS is a modular platform that provides comprehensive workflow management tools covering all air quality data.

Installation and commissioning of the system will commence in November 2019 with a report on the findings being provided to Defra and Slough Borough Council in November 2020.

Ricardo air quality monitoring business manager, Paul Willis said: ‘Councils across the UK are focused on improving local level air quality and especially in protecting the most vulnerable members of the community.’

New technology combined with insightful analysis is critical to help understand and address these challenges.’

Earlier this week, King’s College London published the results of an innovative study that saw 250 schoolchildren have backpacks fitted with air quality sensors.

It revealed that children were exposed to on average five-times-higher concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on the school run than when they were at school.

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