The Environmental Research Group (ERG), part of the School of Biomedical Sciences at King's College London, is a leading provider of air quality information and research in the UK. The Group has four research teams: Monitoring, Modelling, Lung Biology and Science Policy.
Investigators in ERG combine air pollution science, toxicology and epidemiology to determine the impacts of air pollution on health and the causal factors. We work closely with those responsible for air quality management to support policies and actions to minimise air pollution health effects.
The co-ordination of air quality monitoring sites on a regional scale has many benefits, including consistent Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) procedures, a single regional data source, knowledge and equipment sharing.
Ben Barratt has worked within the Environmental Research Group at King's College London since 1994 and helped to formulate and develop the London Air Quality Network. As well as continuing to work with local authorities on air quality monitoring issues, he now specialises in the assessment of the impact of Local Air Quality Management initiatives and assessments of personal exposure to air pollution.
Recent research work includes an analysis of the impact of the first two phases of the London Low Emission Zone on traffic and air pollution concentrations on behalf of Transport for London and the US Health Effects Institute. Prior to this he was part of a consortium of researchers examining the impact of the London Congestion Charging Scheme on air quality.
On a more local scale, he has investigated the efficacy of CMA 'dust supressant' application and titanium dioxide coatings in the reduction of pollution levels in real-world scenarios.
He is now researching methods to reduce the exposure of sensitive individuals to air pollution through education and behavioural change.
To facilitate this research Ben has developed an expertise in assimilating and handling large datasets from diverse sources. He is currently developing a research resource combining pollution monitoring data from across Europe and North America, representing over 1.5 billion data points from 15,000 monitoring locations.
I am principally interested in urban air pollution and how it is affected by transport sources. Recent interests include the controlling influences of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in urban areas, and in particular the contribution made by directly emitted NO2 from road vehicles. This work was the first to identify and quantify the growing importance of direct NO2 emissions and the factors influencing it (Carslaw, 2005; Carslaw and Beevers, 2005). It is now clear that these issues have (and will have) a large influence on European air quality policy.
I also have an interest in the development of techniques to better understand sources of air pollution and ways in which source attribution can be improved. I have developed a series of techniques to detect changes in atmospheric composition due to various interventions and to better understand emission sources. Examples include aviation emissions - source detection, quantification and characterisation, through high-frequency response measurements (Carslaw et al, 2006; Carslaw et al, 2008; Carslaw and Taylor, 2009).
For road vehicles I have developed detailed statistical models of carbon dioxide emissions from individual vehicles which have been used to understand the effect of intelligent speed adaptation systems on emissions (Carslaw et al, 2010).
I am keen on making many of these techniques available more widely to the air quality community. The openair project does just that (see http://www.openair-project.org) by providing data analysis tools available in an open-source environment using R statistical software.
I have been a member of the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) since 2002 and frequently present my work nationally and internationally.
Prof Kelly's research focuses on how the lung defends itself from these challenges and why, for some of us, these defences sometimes fail. Much of his current work examines the oxidant mechanisms underlying air pollution-induced lung injury.
Prof Kelly is trying to understand how pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide and tiny traffic-related particles interact with the lung and initiate injury.
As well as conducting studies in healthy volunteers he is particularly interested in how these events differ between healthy subjects and those with pre-existing airways disease such as asthma. The primary focus of these studies relates to the events occurring within the respiratory tract lining fluid (RTLF) compartment of the lung. This thin layer of fluid, which lines the surface of the lung, represents the first and maybe most important line of defence against inspired pollutants. Prof Kelly suspects that oxidant/antioxidant events occurring in the RTLF are pivotal to understanding the impact of air pollution on the lung. Since many respiratory diseases involve inflammation, RTLF antioxidants have also the potential to defend the lung against free radicals released by invading white blood cells.
In collaboration with clinical colleagues at the University of Umea in Sweden, Prof Kelly utilises bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage procedures to investigate the nature of oxidant/antioxidant interactions occurring in the RTLF compartment. These studies, in combination with cell culture and in vitro approaches, have allowed Prof Kelly and colleagues to develop an understanding of the time-course of events in the airways following oxidative challenge.
These findings have led them to realise the need to obtain a better understanding of how diet and genotype interact to determine an individual's complement of RTLF antioxidants. Prof Kelly and colleagues have obtained data on the antioxidant defence network within RTLF of healthy individuals and are investigating how diet and genetic background can influence this.
In addition to these chamber-based volunteer studies, Prof Kelly and colleagues are taking advantage of the natural experiments that are taking place in London following the introduction of traffic management schemes such as the Congestion Charging Scheme (CCS) and the Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Both schemes have the potential to influence vehicle emissions and thus air quality in London. With colleagues in Imperial College, St George's and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Prof Kelly is determining if this is the case and if they can demonstrate a health benefit of these traffic intervention schemes.
Much of this research is focused on the source apportionment of PM10 concentrations; again using a network perspective to create simple models to separate trends in primary PM concentrations from sources in London from changes in PM imported from outside the city; from Europe and beyond. This led to the important finding that primary PM10 in London has increased since 1998 despite technological and policy measures to abate vehicle tailpipe emissions (Fuller and Green, 2006). These apportionment techniques can also be applied to quantify the local impacts of PM arising from sources that are not currently represented in emissions inventories including construction activity (Fuller and Green, 2004), waste management and more recent measurement programmes have focused on PM10 from biomass burning.
Dr Fuller's studies of PM concentrations in residential streets around six urban waste management sites have led to development of further apportionment techniques to support the regulatory activities of the Environment Agency and local authorities. New measurement of PM chemical composition is providing improved opportunities to characterise PM10 by source leading to a better understanding of ambient air pollution concentrations (Green and Fuller, 2009) and their sources. Other recent work has included the incorporation of the GUM measurement approaches to uncertainty assessment into source apportionment models.
Through close working with toxicologists, clinicians and epidemiologists it has been possible to promote the best use of air pollution measurements in health studies (Atkinson et al, 2010 for example) working towards a better characterisation of pollutant exposure.
I have a strong interest in the application of science to the optimisation of policy on air pollution and health. A biochemist by training, I have subsequently trained in toxicology and am a member of the UK Register of Toxicologists.
I worked as a scientific civil servant for many years at the Department of Health and then the Health Protection Agency, writing review papers and reports for Expert Committees such as the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) and the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP); developing calls for research proposals for the Department of Health Air Pollution and Health Research Programme and providing scientific advice on air pollution and health to Defra.
The latter included quantification of the benefits to health of reductions in air pollution for the Interdepartmental Group on Costs and Benefits' economic analysis of the air quality strategy. My interest in epidemiology has developed as a result of these various areas of work. International work has included acting as a temporary special adviser to World Health Organisation meetings on air pollution and health, several presentations in Brussels and presentations to members of the US Health Effects Institute.
Particular interests at King's include the health effects of ozone and whether there is a threshold, distinguishing the effects of nitrogen dioxide from those of particles, health impact assessment, systematic reviews of the evidence on air pollution and health and the use of lifetables to assess the effects of long-term exposure to particles. I am a member of the quantification sub-group of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants and of a drafting group for a forthcoming report on the mortality effects of long-term exposure to particulate air pollution on health in the United Kingdom.
My interests lie in the application of atmospheric science to policy on air quality, the relationship between air quality and health, and on the linkages between air quality and climate change. I have a particular interest in the effectiveness of air quality policies on urban and regional air quality as evidenced by measurement. Recent studies on NOx trends are a good example.
Further interests include the establishment of more detailed relationships between air quality and health in the UK as part of projects funded by the MRC at the MRC-HPA Centre at King's College. Prior to joining Defra (see below) I carried out air quality impact assessments prior to developments at three major UK airports – Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, and have maintained an interest in the impact of aviation on air quality. More recently I have an interest in the effect of climate change policies on air quality and identifying optimal strategoes to maximise the co-benefits to air quality, health and climate change.
I have a continuing interest in ozone as a pollutant and was the first to demonstrate the impact of stratospheric air on ground level concentrations in the UK. I developed a simple, fast but accurate model used in the daily government air quality forecast for ozone.
I was until recently head of the air quality programme in Defra responsible for air quality policy and research to inform it. I currently chair the Executive Body of the UNECE Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution, and chair the Modelling Review Steering Group for Defra. I am lead author of policy section of the UNEP Assessment of Short Lived Climate Forcers.
Micro HPLC coupled to Mass Spectrometry is most researched area.
Capillary separation techniques including Capillary Zone Electrophoresis and Capillary ElectroChromatography also investigated.
Fabrication of novel stationary phases including chiral materials and organic monoliths.
Effect of very high temperatures on separation efficiency of a range of stationary phases including HILIC and sub 2um materials.
Wide range of applications using Ultra High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC) and soon to begin evealution of the Supercritical Fluid Chromatography version (UPSFC.)
I am an epidemiologist and public health specialist from a medical background. I currently hold part time posts at both KCL and St George’s UOL. My first research experience was an investigation into the role of indoor biomass burning in chronic lung disease in Papua New Guinea. In the UK I have developed a research programme in the epidemiology of childhood asthma and the health effects of outdoor air pollution.
A substantial amount of this work has been conducted among the population of London or as part of international consortia. I have been a member of various policy and research committees at national and international level leading to recommendations of guidelines and standards for outdoor and indoor air pollutants. I am currently a member of the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants.
I am a PI and executive member of the newly established MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health. My current research includes: Global Burden of Disease (Outdoor Air pollution); the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood; systematic reviews of epidemiological evidence relating to air pollution and health; evaluation of air pollution effects of traffic schemes in London and, most recently, a multidisciplinary study of traffic pollution (air pollution and noise) in London. I am a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and past associate editor of the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The exposure outputs from ERG's air quality model continue to be used widely within and outside the MRC centre and include exposure to NO2 and PM around Heathrow, Particle Matter (PM) and Oxidative Potential (OP) exposure in London and NO2 and PM in London for the HEI. ERG's emissions inventory capability is also providing inputs to the EU projects MEGAPOLI and BRIDGE. Dr Beevers has undertaken research which assesses the impact on air pollution of measures to tackle climate change, which was used as part of the evidence provided at the Copenhagen climate change conference.