• Pioneering trial to monitor air pollution launched in English county of Hertfordshire

Air Quality Monitoring

Pioneering trial to monitor air pollution launched in English county of Hertfordshire

Oct 12 2023

The English County of Hertfordshire is setting off on a pioneering journey to radically change the way it tracks air pollution levels. This innovative project, funded by DEFRA (the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs), is set to unveil a novel approach to air quality monitoring this month, driven by the highly advanced technology developed by Hertfordshire's very own Iknaia.

Located in the village of Brookmans Park, Iknaia is the inspiration behind the award-winning Airscan system, a highly cost-effective mobile air quality monitoring solution. The Airscan uses an avant-garde array of high-performance, low-power gas sensors and advanced light scattering laser sensors to provide real-time insights into the local air quality by detecting a range of pollutants and measuring PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter precisely.

Airscan offers flexibility and mobility. Unlike conventional static monitoring systems, the Airscan’s air quality sensors are portable and can be quickly and easily installed on streetlamp posts along roadways. This mobility enables the Hertfordshire County Council, and its district and borough councils, to collect data from a variety of different locations, informing them of the impact of traffic congestion on theenvironment.

Julia McNally, founder of Iknaia, stressed the importance of this endeavour, saying, “Air pollution largely comes from road traffic and is linked to heart disease and lung problems, including asthma.  This will provide local authorities with data that will enable them to make choices such as building new homes away from busy roads, consider re-routing traffic at certain times. Moreover, by 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.”

Matthew Clark, Hertfordshire County Council's Cleaner Air Programme Manager, expressed his enthusiasm for this project. “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. To ensure the accuracy of the data, Airscan units will be positioned alongside our key static monitoring stations. Over the coming months, we will rigorously evaluate the effectiveness and precision of this system. If successful, it could become a highly cost-effective tool for local authorities to manage air quality effectively."

Hertfordshire's exciting trial promises to provide a breath of fresh air for the county and its residents, opening an era of responsive, precise and data-driven air quality management strategies for the country.

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