Air Quality Project
Working in partnership with the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum, the Heath & Hampstead Society, and the borough of Camden, Green School Runs is gathering new data on levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in ten locations in Hampstead. The project 'Air Quality' got under way with the installation of the first diffusion tubes on 27 September 2021. We will compare the results with those of a similar project in 2015. The level of NO2 that we found in 2015 was surprisingly high for leafy Hampstead and inspired some of the policies in the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan, which was approved by residents in a public referendum in 2018.
A dozen of volunteers are helping running the project, and we are delighted that pupils from three local schools are among our volunteers: Devonshire House, Maria Montessori School and UCS Junior Branch. Each group of children will be responsible for the tubes close to their school.
Our team are being advised by Camden’s air quality officer. The readings will be reference quality, fit to stand with Camden’s official figures. We will be able to tell whether we are on track to get inside WHO-recommended limits by 2030, or if more action is needed.
UPDATE - JANUARY 2022
The first two months of laboratory data suggest a reduction in NO2 pollution compared with the levels we recorded six years ago, though it remains in excess of legal limits. However, it is far too soon to predict the final results.
There is certainly no cause for complacency about the quality of the air we breathe. In recent years epidemiologists have learned more about how air pollution harms us, and the World Health Organisation has lowered the limits that it suggests we should consider to be safe. The government is considering revising the legal limits, and Camden plans to hold a consultation soon on its next Clean Air Action Plan.