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King's researchers working with Mayor of London to improve pollution forecasting

Posted on 30/01/2018

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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today announced a new partnership with researchers from the Environmental Research Group (ERG) at King's which will improve the way the public are informed about incidents of poor air quality in the capital.

Scientists from King’s will provide continuous monitoring using the existing London Air Quality Network and a forecast of air pollution in London, delivering alerts to the Mayor’s office and general public as required.

They will also directly notify a wider group of London stakeholders who are most vulnerable to the impacts of poor air, including schools, of episodes of moderate and high pollution. It is hoped these alerts will be rolled out more widely in future to include care homes and GP surgeries in the near future.

To ensure greater coordination and consistency in alerts messaging, the King's forecasters will also consider forecasts from other forecasters as part of their analysis.

Timothy Baker, Principal Air Quality Analyst at the Environmental Research Group said: ‘This new role for King's recognises that our 25 year history of monitoring across London, in partnership with London’s boroughs, has given us an unrivalled understanding of air pollution in the Capital.  

‘Providing accurate, up-to-date information to the public is a central component of King's civic duty, and this exciting new partnership with The Mayor of London will enable that message to be delivered directly to those most affected by air pollution.’

The London Air Quality Network (LAQN) was formed in 1993 by the ERG in conjunction with the London Boroughs and Regional Health Authorities to coordinate and improve air pollution monitoring in London. Currently, the LAQN comprises over 100 continuous monitoring sites in the majority of London’s 33 boroughs and is an essential resource to air quality managers in the capital.  

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘I introduced air quality alerts within months of becoming Mayor because Londoners have a right to know about the quality of the air that they breathe.

‘The system has proved to be very successful but I am delighted to bring the expertise of King's College London onboard so that we can improve it and reach more Londoners, particularly the most vulnerable, with the very latest information.

‘At long last we are seeing some improvements in our toxic air, but there is a long way to go before we can breathe easy. I want more Londoners to engage with air quality issues so I am sure the new guidance that I have published today will encourage people to learn more about the air they breathe and what they can do to improve it.’

The Environmental Research Group at King’s is one of the leading providers of air quality information and research in the UK. It combines air pollution science, toxicology and epidemiology to determine the impacts of air pollution on health and the causal factors.

The team focus on a variety of areas including lung biology, measurement, air quality monitoring, science policy, emissions and technology, with this collaborative approach allowing deeper insight that considers both the chemical make up of the air we breathe and the effects on the population as well as contributing to combatting ongoing air quality issues.

The group also works closely with those responsible for air quality management to support policies and actions to minimise air pollution health effects as well as creating technology to allow the general public to monitor their exposure.

 

For more information please contact Hannah Pluthero, Press Officer at King's College London on 0207 848 3202 or hannah.pluthero@kcl.ac.uk 

Visit Spotlight for more about pollution research at King's.

For further information about King's, please visit the King's in Brief web pages.

World-changing ideas. Life-changing impact: https://spotlight.kcl.ac.uk/

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