The project will cover the main road running through Heavitree from the Livery Dole junction to the junction with Sweetbrier Lane, including Fore Street and East Wonford Hill.
The project aims to create a map showing air pollution levels in this area in near real-time. Members of the public will be able to check pollution levels, and understand what factors cause levels to be higher or lower. There will be information with the map which explains the health effects of poor air quality. Those who view the data will also be shown steps that they can take to cut their impact on air pollution, as well as actions that they can take to reduce their exposure to higher levels of air pollution throughout the day.
What data is currently collected by Exeter City Council on air quality?
Exeter City Council currently measures pollution from road traffic in this area using diffusion tubes.
These are small tubes which absorb nitrogen dioxide, one of the types of pollution released by vehicle exhausts. The tubes can be placed in a variety of locations and are easy to use.
The tubes are a cost effective way of understanding whether the levels of nitrogen dioxide meet the Government objectives or not. They are recommended by Government for Local Authorities to use in this way.
However, the diffusion tubes only give an average level of pollution for a whole year. They cannot tell us how pollution levels vary in the short-term, which happens when the weather or traffic levels change. Using a physical monitor of any kind also limits the number of locations where from where data can be collected. Even though the diffusion tubes are relatively inexpensive, it is not possible to put them on the front of every house.
What additional data will the project provide?
This project will put out a small number of new sensors which can measure real time pollution levels and use these to ‘train’ a much larger network of ‘virtual sensors’. The project will also use data on weather and traffic to understand and then predict pollution levels across the area.
A variety of both historic and near real time inputs to the computer model will allow the virtual sensors to display estimates of pollution concentrations. These should become more and more accurate as they learn from the real-world sensors.
Why is the project focussed on Heavitree?
Currently only one site in Exeter exceeds the legal objectives for air pollution levels. This is at East Wonford Hill, where nitrogen dioxide levels are above the Government objective. For this reason the project will focus on nitrogen dioxide in the Heavitree Corridor area.
What will the project output be?
The project team will create a simple, understandable interface where the public can see the pollution map and access further information. The main aim of the project output is to inspire behaviour change in individuals, to cut emissions of air pollution and the harm caused by these.
Who is running the project?
The project is a partnership between Exeter City Council and Emerald Green Power.
How long will the project last?
It will last two years. It has been funded by a Government grant and so the Council does not currently have the funding available to continue or expand the project beyond this period.