Air pollution monitoring moves up OWL’s agenda

Published:  14 March, 2019

It’s rare that a month goes by when the subject of global air pollution doesn’t hit the headlines. However, with the introduction of London’s new Ultra Low Emission Zone on the horizon, and the fatal asthma attack of a child in the UK that has been directly linked to air pollution, it is inevitable that air quality is becoming more of a priority. 

The World Health Organisation estimates that around a million UK citizens will die from air pollution-related disease by 2040 if existing Government policies are followed. It is therefore clear that stronger Government policies and more stringent monitoring are required.

This year OWL (the Optimised Waste & Logistics initiative) has added air pollution monitoring to its agenda. Barry Sheerman MP, chairman of the OWL partnership, believes that developing an integrated approach to air quality, transport safety and sustainability is vital.

‘The first step to demonstrable improvements is robust monitoring and good data,’ says Barry, who is also chair of the Leadership Council of the Global Network for Road Safety Legislators and chairman of the UK’s Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety. ‘Multi-purposing commercial fleet vehicles to measure key environmental parameters in addition to their traditional roles, such as refuse collection, will set an important standard in the world of transport and logistics.’  

With this in mind, Dennis Eagle is now fitting a mobile air quality-monitoring device to its demonstration refuse collection vehicle to support councils with their clean air strategies.  The device is being developed by CMS SupaTrak in conjunction with EarthSense.

Also undertaking trials of a mobile air monitoring device is the City of London Corporation, which runs a fleet of around 150 cleansing and waste collection vehicles. Vince Dignam, business performance and transport manager, says: ‘Our first objective is to calibrate the mobile air monitors with our static monitoring systems and then start to collect mobile air quality data with our vehicles. We will collect data on Euro 5, Euro 6, and our electric vehicles to help us better understand the impact on air quality of these different vehicle types.’

The results from these trials and others will be presented at future OWL Roadshows:

4 April 2019, OWL Roadshow Scotland, Mar Hall Hotel & Spa, Bishopton, Scotland

3-4 July, OWL Roadshow Midlands, Wroxall Abbey

3 October 2019, NI Waste Expo, Titanic, Belfast


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