Woking Green Party Uses AirLink in Innovative Air Quality Initiative
The Woking branch of the Green Party in England, in collaboration with Guildford Living Lab, has taken a proactive role in making sure the citizens of Woking are informed about the quality of the air they breathe.
Last summer, they partnered with our UK reseller, Prodata, to install a network of eight Davis AirLink air quality monitors to measure particulate matter (PM) in mainly residential areas across the town of Woking. Earlier this year they added another five AirLinks to the network near the busy and most likely to be polluted town center.
A Davis AirLink air quality monitor installed outside a home in Woking, UK. One of 13 providing real-time AQI data to residents. Photo courtesy of Woking Green Party.
A team from the Guildford Living Lab at the University of Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), led by Professor Prashant Kumar, has already analyzed the network’s data covering the period from July to December 2021, and will report further analyses up to 12 months. The data shows that while the mean concertation of PM2.5 was within the UK Air Quality Strategy and World Health Organization (WHO) limits, “a considerable number of days presented a PM2.5 mean concentration above the limits proposed by WHO.” You can read the report here.
Woking is a town of about 100,000 in northwest Surrey, England, a suburb of London and part of the London commuter belt. The data analysis showed what residents in Woking suspected: the wind was bringing pollution from London to Woking. On the most polluted days, air came from the east; on the least polluted days, wind came from the west.
“The data has also confirmed significant differences between neighborhoods,” said Nigel Ridgeon, the Technical Lead for the Woking PM2.5 particulate air pollution sensing network. “Sensor #1 in Horsell in central Woking often sees twice as much pollution as sensor #7 sees on Woking’s SW country outskirts, and the real-time data peaks have enabled ‘neighborhood incident alerts’ to be raised, so meeting two other goals of the project.”
The initiative grew out of the Woking Green Party’s increasing concerns about the effects of air pollution in the area. The aims of the Woking Green party include taking steps to understand climate change and protect our planet, as well as empowering residents. Both these goals are met in this important initiative.
Green Party member Jennifer Mason with one of the compact AirLink air quality sensors installed in the network. Photo courtesy of Woking Green Party.
The concerns about air quality of the party members and citizens is justified. Jennifer Mason, a member of Woking Green Party said, “A review of interventions to improve outdoor air quality and public health reported equivalent to between 28,000-36,000 deaths each year attributable to human-made air pollution in the United Kingdom through its contribution towards increased levels of heart disease, lung cancer and strokes. As a member of the Green Party and standing representative in the 2022 elections, I am very proud to be part of this project. The Green Party has set up a network of monitors across Woking to study the current air pollution levels and ensure we are not exceeding the recommend minimum levels.”
Residents can see the real-time data on WeatherLink.com or on their phones by downloading the WeatherLink app.
Nigel told us that the goal is to focus on detecting PM2.5 air pollution throughout Woking.
“Professor Kumar may publish scientifically-rigorous data readings and findings. This is a collaborative community-science, community-information, and community-action project … and the PM2.5 particulate pollution readings are available now and in real-time to the general public on the www.WeatherLink.com website.”
He added that the party sees this initiative as just the beginning.
“We in Woking Green Party would be delighted to encourage and help other Surrey local Green Parties to take similar action, and to join our sensor network with theirs so that residents could be best informed to save lives and improve health and the environment in Surrey and beyond.”
Why stop at Surrey? We at Davis envision a global network of AirLinks that will raise awareness of air pollution and provide vital, real-time, local AQI information needed by people who are particularly sensitive to air pollution. Thank you, Woking Green Party, for this model.