Working alongside the Sense My Street project from the Urban Laboratory at Newcastle University we have had three air quality monitors installed in the Heaton area.
The monitors are capable of measuring nitrogen dioxide as well as particles of different sizes to give a good idea of the air quality in the area.
The sensors are linked to the Urban Observatory and the data can be seen online. The three monitors that are currently in place are:
- Warwick Street, junction with Stratford Road
- Chillingham Road, outside the primary school
- Chillingham Road, junction with Cartington Terrace
- Heaton Road, junction with Coast Road and Newton Road
We will be writing more about what the data is showing and what the current limits are shortly, but early indications show there are some areas to look at in more detail. For example, the national air quality guidelines say that PM10 particles should not exceed an average level of 50 µg/m³ over a 24 hour, period while European obligations say 50 µg/m³ should not be exceeded more than 35 times per year.
Readings of PM10 on Warwick Street on 12th January 2018 had readings around 100 µg/m³ for most of the morning before dropping during the afternoon.
European obligations for nitrogen dioxide are an annual mean of 40 µg/m³. Early readings taken from Chillingham Road on 12th January 2018 show a reading above that level at several points throughout the day but an average that currently meets targets.
Readings from the sensor on the Coast Road show an average of 68µg m³ for the 7 days from 6th to 13th Feb 2018.
As more data comes in over the next few weeks it will be possible to get a much clearer idea of the air quality across the area as well as what the causes of the different types of pollution are.
The Government guide to safe levels various types of air pollution can be found on the DEFRA website (pdf) along with a useful guide explaining what the targets mean in terms of UK and EU limits