• EarthSense

EarthSense Air Pollution Monitoring Will Support Case for Greater Manchester Sustainable Transport

EarthSense, the air-quality specialist, is providing real-time air-quality measurements using Zephyr® sensors to help make Chorlton in Great Manchester a healthier, greener community.


Our Streets Chorlton, a partnership between WalkRideGM, Open Data Manchester, Groundwork Greater Manchester, and Sustrans, which is funded by the National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund, is using EarthSense’s air quality monitoring service as part of a pilot study to understand how transport decisions affect air quality.


The project uses two EarthSense Zephyr® air quality monitors to measure localised real-time changes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2­­), nitric oxide (NO), ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM­1, PM2.5 and PM10), in conjunction with EarthSense’s MappAir® air quality dispersion model to highlight pollution levels for the wider Chorlton area.


The solar-powered Zephyr® monitors have been installed in Chorlton, with one static unit attached to a lamp post at a major crossroad in the centre, and one mobile unit that will be moved between a school, commercial area and residential neighbourhood.


EarthSense Managing Director, Tom Hall said: “Understanding how pollution-heavy vehicles impact air quality levels throughout neighbourhoods is vital when it comes to encouraging community action. Using Zephyr® monitors to identify pollution levels at specific locations, such as that throughout Chorlton, provides real-time data to show exactly how baselines can change over time when sustainable initiatives are introduced.”


“Modelled MappAir® data can be used to ‘fill in the gaps’ for locations without Zephyr® air quality monitors. The addition of modelling data allows for a complete understanding of air pollution levels and trends throughout Chorlton and will be able to reveal whether the introduction of sustainable transport decisions helps to reduce elevated levels of pollution in the town.”


To provide live data, the Zephyr® monitors have an active sampling mechanism that takes samples of ambient air every 10 seconds to provide measures for pollutants. The data will be fed into Open Data Manchester’s GitHub, where the information will be curated weekly and accessible to the public.


The Our Streets Chorlton group will also share insights from the air quality data on its website to demonstrate how air quality changes over time and how human activity impacts on air quality throughout the day.


Collated data will be presented to the community to highlight the impact of transport emissions on the environment and demonstrate the effect it has on surrounding pollution concentrations.


EarthSense’s air quality monitoring service, along with traffic monitoring and online surveys, will help the local community to understand more about transport choices and their effect on pollution.


Future initiatives, focussed on reducing air pollution levels and related issues about tackling climate change, will also be evidenced, such as encouraging behaviour change locally, including choosing to travel by foot.


At the end of the project, Our Streets Chorlton will use its learnings to create a toolkit that will be accessible to other communities that want to know how understanding air pollution can help achieve climate goals.


Open Data Manchester CEO, Julian Tait said: "It's really important to us that we're helping empower communities to use data to make the case for change. With Our Streets Chorlton, we're supporting this Manchester neighbourhood to understand the impact of transport locally, in order to help everyone, make better choices for the planet and for future generations.


"The Zephyr® air-quality monitors are a key piece of the puzzle here. We're using moveable, solar-powered sensors that not only provide regularly calibrated measurements, so we'll have confidence in the data we're receiving, but also allow us to re-site them easily as the project progresses. We're using the MappAir® web interface and the Earthsense APIs to make sure the data we collect can be published as open data and is easily accessible to the public,” continued Julian Tait.

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