Expanded air quality monitoring network launching in Hackney

The first of four new automatic air quality monitoring stations has been installed by Hackney Council on Queensbridge Road, in an expansion of its existing air quality monitoring network. 

Providing live monitoring of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter pollution, the new stations join a 150-strong network of diffusion tube monitors already in place across the borough. 

Unlike the diffusion tubes, which take an average of nitrogen dioxide pollution over the year, the new monitoring stations allow pollution data to be viewed in real-time. 

They also measure particulate matter pollution - tiny particles emitted predominantly by motor vehicles and by burning wood and coal - which are known to exacerbate respiratory health conditions such as asthmas and increase the likelihood of cardiovascular problems.

The monitors are being installed close to roads but in places where people spend time so that the potential health impacts from road traffic can be observed. 

Data from the borough’s extensive monitoring network shows that there was a reduction in air pollutant concentrations at almost all locations in 2020, with NO2 readings below air quality objectives at almost all sites in the borough. The automatic monitors will help to monitor trends in NO2 and particulate matter pollution in real-time, so the Council can check that reductions in NO2 concentrations in 2020 are being replicated. 

They will also provide data that the Council includes in its annual reports and will help the Council to assess progress with delivery of the borough’s Air Quality Action Plan.

Cllr Mete Coban MBE, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm
We already have an extensive air quality monitoring network of 150 sites in Hackney, but our new live monitors will help us to further understand the pollution emitted from vehicles and from wood and coal burning, so we can tackle London’s toxic air.

Together with all of our plans to rebuild a greener Hackney after the pandemic - including low traffic neighbourhoods, School Streets and our huge tree planting programme, which are helping to reduce car use and tackle pollution - the new monitoring stations will help us to build better neighbourhoods with cleaner air and healthier lives.
Cllr Mete Coban MBE, Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste, Transport and Public Realm

The Council has recently revised its Air Quality Action Plan which includes a commitment to work towards meeting the World Health Organisation’s recommended limits for each pollutant. Having automatic monitors allows data to be gathered on both short and long-term concentrations and allows variations over time to be plotted. Therefore, levels of air pollution that may impact on people’s health can be monitored more closely and progress towards meeting the targets can be measured.

The data from the new automatic monitoring stations will be available to view from early 2022. 

Find out more about the Council’s work to tackle air pollution and view pollution monitoring at: hackney.gov.uk/air-quality.