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Pioneering trial to monitor air pollution launched in Hertfordshire

A DEFRA funded pilot scheme to monitor air pollution levels across Hertfordshire is being launched this month using technology developed by a Hertfordshire-based company.

Iknaia, a technology firm with offices in Brookmans Park, installed their Airscan mobile air quality monitoring system, which can detect levels of pollution on the Council’s streets in real time. Airscan uses high-performance, reliable, low-power gas sensors to detect a range of noxious gases in the atmosphere and also state of the art light scattering laser sensor to accurately measure PM2.5 & PM10.

Unlike previous static systems, the Airscan Air Quality sensors can be easily moved around and installed on streetlamp posts at roadside, which will enable the county council and their district and borough partners to collect data in multiple locations and assess the impact that traffic congestion is having on the air we breathe.

Founder of Iknaia, Julia McNally, says: ‘This will provide local authorities with data that will enable them to make choices such as building new homes away from busy roads and consider re-routing traffic at certain times. Also providing real-time data to motorists and pedestrians will help them make decisions about the routes they choose to take that can impact their health.’

Hertfordshire County Council’s Cleaner Air Programme Manager, Matthew Clark says: ‘The county council is keen to see continued improvement in air pollution monitoring capacity throughout the county, as part of our Sustainable Hertfordshire commitment to deliver cleaner air for all by 2030. Currently we have several real time static monitoring stations in locations that are chosen to target areas where pollution is expected to be high as advised by our District and Borough partners who have the specific local knowledge to inform this decision. We are looking forward to working with Airscan as it offers us the opportunity of being able to monitor air quality in multiple locations and enable us to see real-time changes in air pollution as they happen.’

Clark continues: ‘Theunits will be co-located alongside key static monitoring stations to validate the accuracy of the data and we’ll be evaluating the effectiveness and accuracy of the system over the coming months. This could be a very cost-effective tool for local authorities to assist the management of air quality.’

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