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Westminster Council launches online air quality portal

The London borough is aiming to raise awareness about air pollution and encourage sustainable modes of transport.

Westminster Council has opened a new online air quality portal, allowing the public to view data in real time from sensors installed at locations across the area. 

Equipment has been fitted at four schools in the borough – St Joseph’s Primary, Edward Wilson Primary, Wilberforce Primary, and St Saviour’s Primary. The sites were chosen based on high proportions of children travelling to class by car. The pilot has been spearheaded by the council’s Smart City team, working with air quality tech company EarthSense. 

red and white ferris wheel under blue sky during daytime

It is hoped that giving residents access to up-to-the-minute data on atmospheric conditions will make parents, carers, pupils, teachers, and others more aware of air pollution, and encourage them to consider alternative, sustainable modes of travel. 

Readings are available for PM2.5, Nitrogen Dioxide, and an overall Air Quality Index (AQI) rating. In addition to basic information on levels, information is included on the different types of pollutants and ideas for how individuals can improve air quality. 

 ‘One of our key priorities is to improve air quality levels across the city, and I hope the data from these sensors will make everyone consider their personal actions,’ said Cllr Paul Dimoldenberg, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Air Quality and City Management. ‘We want to see more people choosing an active and more sustainable form of travelling, whether that’s cycling, walking or using a scooter. We can all do something to cut pollution and the council will work in partnership with residents, businesses and visitors to help improve air quality.’

Westminster is the latest council to introduce an online air quality information system. Last week, Leeds City Council launched a new email alert service to warn its residents of high pollution days in the hope of increasing public awareness and seeing more people opt to leave their car at home when levels of pollutants are high, in turn helping reduce overall emissions. 

Image credit: Gurpreet Singh

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