Londoners now have a tool to check and track how the areas in which they live, work and play measure up in terms of air quality: a new website called Londonair, which measures air quality by the hour and displays it on a scale of one to six.
A first of its kind, Londonair combines readings of nitrogen dioxide — a key air pollutant linked to respiratory disease — taken within the last hour and air pollution modelling, and displays the result on a map as a rating on a scale of one (good) to six (heavily polluted).
It also has snapshots of air pollution “episodes” that have affected London and southeast England.
The website, provided by the Environmental Research Group of King’s College London and produced by the London Air Quality Network (LAQN), provides information for the public, policy users and scientists.
The LAQN was formed in 1993 with the aim of improving air quality monitoring in London, and provides independent scientific measurements and assessment.
Air quality in big cities is an increasing concern as the global movement of people into urban centres continues, with 80 per cent of the world population living in areas that fail to meet World Health Organization guidelines on a number of crucial pollutants.
Apart from increasing the “visibility” of air pollution in London, the network’s measurements are also used to assess how different government policies affect air pollution, help fulfil the local authorities statutory obligations on air pollution, and contribute to research into the health effects of air pollution.
Access Londonair here.