LONDON, September 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
Addison Lee founder John Griffin donates £1m to fund the first 500 schools-based sensors
Change London has been given £1million by Addison Lee founder John Griffin to fund the first 500 schools-based air quality sensors to monitor air quality in London through the 'AirSensa' project.
Change London has created the AirSensa project in response to a growing number of reports showing the damaging effects of poor air quality on Londoners. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that thousands of Londoners die early as a result of air pollution (and up to 30,000 nationally), costing the UK economy £16 billion every year.
Change London believes that you can't manage what you can't measure, so the AirSensa project has been designed to monitor and visualise air quality, initially across London, down to individual street level, so that real-time information can be shared and steps can be taken to improve air quality.
Deliveries of air sensor units will begin next month and the first 500 units will be installed and generating data within 6 months. The network will eventually consist of up to 10,000 sensors across the whole of greater London, including schools, business premises and other key locations.
Change London CEO Jonathan Steel said: "Poor air quality affects all of us, but particularly children. You can't see emissions from road vehicles and domestic and commercial heating systems, but long-term exposure is damaging the health of everyone who lives, works or goes to school in London.
"We believe that it's vital that we learn more about air pollution, and about the simple steps we can all take that can add up to a healthier city. The first step is to take accurate readings across London, and this is what the AirSensa project is designed to deliver".
Change London advisory board member Professor Jonathan Grigg said: "London is one of the most polluted cities in Europe - incredibly, I think. Poor air quality can reduce life expectancy, and gives rise to increased levels of cancer, heart and lung diseases in the population, low baby birth weight, increases in child asthma and reduced lung function.
"It should be the right of every child to breathe as clean air as possible."
(Jonathan Grigg is Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine and honorary consultant paediatrician at Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University London)
Donor John Griffin said: "As the founder of London's largest minicab firm, I feel a responsibility to get this ball rolling. Change London's approach appeals to me as it is about taking action. We can't speculate about the quality of air, we need to know the facts; and we need to be able to look across London and - all together - take steps to change it. "
"I'm particularly interested in the schools element of the project - poor air quality is damaging children more than us - and I think that if I can help to enable the next generation to learn about air pollution and how to address the problems, that is a legacy I can be very proud of."
See a short film about air pollution in Londonand the AirSensa project athttp://www.changelondon.org/airpollution
A selection of high resolution images can be downloaded from our news room.
NOTES to editors:
About Change London
The success that London enjoys also gives rise to a range of challenges that Change London was set up to address. A non-profit organisation working with business, universities and government, our aim is to make a growing London a healthier, more liveable and economically productive city.
Change London has a growing (free) membership base of organisations of all sizes, and creates major projects that harness advanced technologies, partnerships, and communities. Funded entirely from the private sector, Change London works with multiple private, public and NGO partners to deliver real change for the benefit of all Londoners.
About the AirSensa Project
The AirSensa network - which has already raised enough funding to create the largest single city air quality sensor network in the world - will eventually consist of up to 10,000 sensors across Greater London. Funding is coming from private sector donations and sponsorship.
Key AirSensa project elements:
- Unique sensor technology
- Private-sector funded
- Powerful cloud platform
- University partnerships
- Defra and GLA support
- Unique geographic density
- Platform-driven curation and estate management
- Education programme
How does it work?
Each AirSensa unit takes continuous readings of key air pollutants and atmospheric conditions, and transmits the data to our cloud platform. The platform gathers readings from every location, and prepares it for a range of real-time apps that interpret what it means for all of us, and particularly for key vulnerable groups - children, older people, and those suffering from respiratory illnesses.
What will be done with the data?
The software platform (STORRM Cloud) allows a range of visualisation and use options for the data:
- First and foremost, we can create a detailed factual representation of air quality across London to help create positive, targeted solutions
- For schools, the data will support and inform a range of cross-curriculum educational and teacher support materials to enable school children at every key stage to be armed with the facts around air pollution, its causes and its solutions
- For Londoners we are creating a range of apps to deliver factual information for all Londoners visualised in a useable way.
- For local and central government, it will give decision-makers access to a growing set of data that supports policy planning and judgements
- For businesses and universities, it acts as a test-bed for new technologies, and supports scientific research into air pollution behaviour, and into the development of sensor and low-emission technologies
SOURCE Change London