Staffordshire County Council and Amey monitor air quality ahead of innovative trials

05 March 2021
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Staffordshire County Council (SCC) are working with Amey to deploy a series of air quality sensors across the county ahead of trialling innovative solutions to improve air quality for residents as part of the Department for Transport funded £22.9m Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) SMART Places Live Labs programme.

Amey and SCC are working with, Earthsense and Airlabs to record, Nox, P.M 2.5 and P.M 10 at locations across Staffordshire through the joint SIMULATE programme. Three areas across the county were identified as high pollution areas and therefore, places of key interest for the air quality sensors and maximum benefit for the sensors to be deployed for collecting data.

The locations where the sensors have been installed are the Newcastle-Under-Lyme Ring Road, Burton-On-Trent Orbit accommodation and Cellarhead Junction. 

Earthsense have sensorised all three areas and Airlabs have deployed sensors in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Both sets of specialised sensors will be used to gather baseline air quality data to determine and examine the positive impact innovative solutions could have on improving the air quality in these high pollution areas.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, infrastructure and climate change Julia Jessel said: “We’re using the latest technology and innovation to improve air quality for our residents through the SIMULATE programme with Amey and other partners. This is a vital part of our commitment as a county council to combat climate change.

“By using the data collected we can progress the programme with our selected businesses which will trial their solutions in those areas. These innovations can then be used to benefit communities not only in Staffordshire, but across the country.”

The data collected from the sensors is being continually monitored by Amey’s in-house consultancy, Amey Consulting, who will use the findings to assist the SIMULATE team to monitor the solutions deployed to reduce the impact of poor air quality in the identified areas of Staffordshire.

Collecting data from the sensors is the first step for the SIMLATE programme before trialling and testing innovations in air quality solutions, such as living walls and air scrubbing technology, that aim to enable future decisions to be made on how to effectively improve air quality, carbon capture and wellbeing benefits.

Paul Rose, Technical Director at Amey Consulting, said: “The SIMULATE programme is providing us with a fantastic opportunity to collect data on air quality and work with innovative SMEs to find solutions to not only capture carbon to improve air quality in the areas located for trials, but to also look at ways that we can improve wellbeing in the process. I’m excited for our teams working alongside Staffordshire County Council to see what solutions are brought to fruition that improve the air quality for those living in the location of the sensors.”

Launched last year the sensors are already collating valuable data that Amey’s in-house consultancy, Amey Consulting is evaluating and monitoring. The sensors will be in situ for 12months, enabling initial data to be collated, solutions trialled, and future air quality improvements agreed upon.

Work is currently underway to identify and install solutions.

Giles Perkins, ADEPT Live Labs Programme Director said: “The impacts of poor quality are well understood, and the sensors being installed as part of the SIMULATE programme are illustrating the agile approach to deploying such technology for the benefit of local communities. The exciting opportunity in Staffordshire is the linking of the data collected by sensors with the other interventions such as air-scrubbing – demonstrating the eco-system approach to innovation that is at the heart of Live Labs”

ADEPT represents local authority, county, unitary and metropolitan Directors. The ADEPT SMART Places Live Labs programme is a two-year £22.9 million project funded by the Department for Transport and supported by project partners SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, EY, Kier, O2, Ringway and WSP.

Nine local authorities are working on projects to introduce digital innovation across SMART mobility, transport, highways, maintenance, data, energy and communications. Live Labs is part of ADEPT’s SMART Places programme to support the use of digital technology in place-based services.

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