Plan to make London air cleaner

The Environmental Research Group and the Department of Geography at King’s College London are leading a consortium of universities in a £2.8m research project investigating traffic-related health issues in London.

The ‘ClearfLo’ (Clean Air for London) project will analyse the distribution, transport and transformation of potentially hazardous air pollutants in urban areas and will establish the infrastructure needed to monitor air pollutants moving in and out of the capital.

Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health and is estimated by the World Health Organisation to cause approximately two million premature deaths worldwide each year.

King’s experts recently warned that pollution could reduce the lifespan of some Londoners by up to 10 years.

Understanding how pollutants relevant to human health are dispersed in the urban environment is a challenge, as traditional methods to measure dispersion are not applicable in all urban environments.

As a result, the distribution and concentration of some pollutants in urban areas are not well characterised.

ClearfLo will address this lack of understanding by creating four ‘super’ air-quality monitoring sites from Harwell to the west of London and from Detling to the east of London.

In addition to the data that will be collected from the sites over the next three years, meteorological and air-quality monitors will be placed at the top of the BT Tower.

Furthermore, a number of short but extensive monitoring campaigns will be undertaken in central London using equipment brought in by the consortium partner universities.