Successful conclusion of the community air quality monitoring study

Posted on 15/2/2020

Thank you to all the Belsize Society members and other volunteers who have helped to bring to a successful conclusion the community air quality monitoring study in Belsize Park / Swiss Cottage. We are now excitedly awaiting the results, hopefully due around the end of March 2020.

Since early January 2019, up to 30 volunteers have been tending the 10 monitoring locations, mostly situated in the area between Finchley Road and Haverstock Hill. Every month the teams organised themselves to take down the test-tubes from high on kerbside lampposts / signposts, post them back to Camden Council for analysis, and replace them with a new set of tubes. Inevitably some passers-by could not restrain themselves from taking a few tubes and there was one explicit act of vandalism to destroy one set of tubes but these instances were thankfully rare. Overall the study managed to collect enough data for all 10 monitoring locations.

The tubes (three at each location) have been measuring the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the main source of which is vehicle exhausts. The 10 locations were agreed during consultations with the volunteers to provide readings from a mix of busy and quieter roads. The study was funded by the Community Infrastructure Levy, initiated and supported by officers at Camden Council, whom we also thank for all their help in setting up and providing back-up administration for the study.

Camden Council is now processing the data and we will be able to see how NO2 levels at the 10 locations have varied over the 12 months. If any locations have levels above the recommended healthy levels then we can ask what actions might be taken to alleviate the NO2 pollution.

Towards the end of March 2020 Camden Council will host a meeting to report back on the results to the volunteers and all interested Belsize Society members and local residents. Details of this event will appear on the Belsize Society website and will be sent out by email to volunteers and members.