Environment Minister Jo Churchill MP visits Imperial’s air quality monitoring site at London Marylebone Road on Clean Air Day.
On Clean Air Day 2022, the Environment Minister Jo Churchill MP visited Imperial’s air quality supersite on London Marylebone Road to learn about the site’s monitoring technology and its use in informing the public about air pollution and the significant risks it poses for public health. Clean Air Day was on 16 June 2022 and is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign, bringing together communities, businesses, schools and the health sector to raise awareness of how air pollution affects health and improve public understanding of the issue.
Hosted by Dr David Green, Senior Research Fellow at Imperial’s Environmental Research Group, the visit took place at the air quality research station on Marylebone Road, a busy, frequently congested road in central London. Dr Green showed the Minister around the station and explained the advanced measurement technology which focuses on the composition of particles and gases. He explained how these measurements are used to help understand people’s exposure to pollution close to roads and to assess the emissions from different vehicles, informing health studies and policy interventions.
During the visit, Minister Churchill also met with Dr Ian Mudway, Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health, who talked about his work in researching the impacts of air pollution and human health. Dr Mudway highlighted the importance of promoting public understanding of environmental pollutants and their associated risks.
The Minister also met Imperial PhD student William Hicks who discussed his research on non-exhaust emissions from brake and tire wear affecting air quality. Mr Hicks highlighted the need for further research on the possible negative impact of vehicle electrification on tire wear emissions.
Dr David Green said, “It was great to show the Minister our work at the Marylebone Road air quality research station and emphasise how the measurements we make are used to inform our understanding of people’s exposure to poor air quality, and influence public policy to reduce the health impacts of air pollution.”
Minister for Agri-innovation and Climate Adaptation Jo Churchill said, “Clean Air Day is an important opportunity for us to both reflect and focus our attention onto air pollution. It was great to meet with the team from Imperial College London to learn about the vital work being carried out to help shape our understanding of the impact of dirty air on health. We will continue to work closely with local authorities, campaigners and researchers to show the leadership needed to create a future in which we all can enjoy the benefits of cleaner air.”
Imperial’s leading role in tackling air pollution
Imperial is home to the world’s leading center for the study of air pollution, the Environmental Research Group, led by Professor Frank Kelly and an expert team of researchers working on air quality. Air pollution is a major threat to health and climate, in the UK and around the world. Tackling air pollution will have co-benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving public health and well-being.
Professor Kelly leads on the West London Healthy Home and Environment Study, working in partnership with the local community to examine the quality of indoor and outdoor pollution outside households.
The College’s Air Quality Network also brings together researchers across Imperial to improve air quality for all. The Network includes multidisciplinary experts such as health economist Dr Laure de Preux, who is helping local authorities quantify the ‘hidden costs’ of air pollution; Dr Audrey de Nazelle, whose work is helping to develop health-promoting built environments; lung cell biologist Professor Terry Tetley who is an authority on pulmonary diseases related to inhaled toxicants; and Professor Fan Chung who has demonstrated the scale of the negative impacts of urban air pollution on cardiovascular and respiratory health.
The Environmental Research Group also lead on London’s Air Quality Network, which shows air pollution in London and South East England, and the Breathe London project, which offers affordable and easy-to-install air quality sensors. Together, these projects provide local government, community groups, business and the public at large with access to high quality, reliable data on air quality. Through Imperial Projects, the Group is looking to expand these networks and provide similar set-ups across the UK and globally.