Imperial College London

First community groups receive their Breathe London air quality sensors


Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum with their air quality sensor

Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum with their air quality sensor

The first community groups to receive free Breathe London air quality sensors have been announced.

The Mayor of London and Bloomberg Philanthropies have announced the first ten groups to receive free air quality sensors, as part of the Breathe London Community Programme empowering them to make their own choices about where they monitor local air pollution.

The free sensors monitor levels of pollution, including particulates (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) both of which are harmful to health and are providing Londoners with even more hyperlocal air pollution data.

A £1.5m investment for the Breathe London network – £790,000 from City Hall and £720,000 from Bloomberg Philanthropies – is funding more than 200 air quality sensors across the capital, as well as further research and community engagement. Managed by experts from the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College London through Imperial Projects, the wider Breathe London Network currently stands at more than 300 sensors across London and continues to grow as businesses and other organisations can buy into the network and purchase their own air quality sensors.

Andrew Grieve, Senior Air Quality Analyst in the Environmental Research Group, said: “Putting the power of air quality monitoring into communities' hands is a game-changer."

"Working with our first ten community groups has been a privilege. Each has a unique perspective on air pollution and seeing their passion, energy and commitment to improving their local environment shows just how powerful grassroots community monitoring can be.”

The Mayor visited Mums for Lungs in Redbridge - one of the first groups to be awarded a free Breathe London sensor - to meet with residents and find out more about the impacts of air pollution in this outer London community.

Lydia Fraser-Ward from Mums for Lungs, Redbridge said: “We are delighted to have been awarded an air quality sensor by the Mayor of London and Breathe London Community Programme. Our community in South Woodford in the London Borough of Redbridge are deeply concerned about the levels of air pollution in the neighbourhood, particularly in the playground of our lovely local park Elmhurst Gardens which sits next to the North Circular. It is thanks to this project that we now have reliable and up-to-date data which members of the public can access online. This data demonstrates when pollution levels are at their highest?and acts as important evidence to lobby for mitigation measures to help to protect park users from exposure to dangerously high levels of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in the future.”

Free Breathe London sensors were also awarded to:

  • Croydon Climate Action; Croydon 
  • Earls Court Society; Kensington and Chelsea 
  • Harlesden Neighbourhood Forum; Brent 
  • Healthy Streets North Tottenham; Haringey 
  • Rectory Road Residents Association; Hackney 
  • Shadwell Responds; Tower Hamlets 
  • Clean Air Bayswater; Westminster 
  • Barking Food Forest; Barking and Dagenham 
  • Victoria Park Harriers & Tower Hamlets Athletics Club; Tower Hamlets  

Dr Iq Mead, Head of Air Quality Measurement in the Environmental Research Group, added: “Air pollution is the largest environmental risk to health in the UK and globally, with 7 million premature deaths attributed to exposure to poor air quality by the World Health Organisation each year. It’s great to see communities like these step up and make a difference.”

Learn more about the Breathe London network on their website


Jack Stewart

Jack Stewart
School of Public Health

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