New £46,000 air quality monitoring station approved for Portsmouth

A NEW £46,000 air monitoring station will be set up in one of the city’s most polluted roads in a bid to get the most accurate air quality readings possible.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 11:58 am
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 3:52 pm

Amid plans for a potential clean air zone, Portsmouth City Council has approved a fifth monitoring station, which will be implemented next to St John’s Cathedral in Mile End Road.

The device will register levels of nitrous dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (both PM10 and PM2.5) that are harmful to humans, adding to data provided by the city's four other stations and 120 NO2 diffusion tubes.

Speaking at an environment and climate change meeting the council's environmental health officer, Richard Lee, said: ‘This is the best possible device to ensure we have excellent results, quality control and validation of data, and it has a long lifespan.

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The new station will monitor NO2 and particulate matter. Picture: Shutterstock
The new station will monitor NO2 and particulate matter. Picture: Shutterstock

‘We hope to ensure sufficient data over at least a 10-year period.

‘We are aware that at just under £50,000 there are cheaper alternatives. There are low-cost devices and we will continue to deploy diffusion tubes to further inform our work.’

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The £46,000 needed for the station will come from the council's capital budget. After the first year it is thought it will cost £5,000 a year in maintenance.

In comparison the diffusion tubes cost £15.

The council’s environment boss, Cllr Dave Ashmore, said: ‘Resources have always been stretched.

‘When we say the tubes are low-cost we are not using them because the council is trying to be cheap.

‘It’s so we can get more measuring equipment to get more readings to help with cleaner air.’

Opposition spokesmen for environment agreed.

Labour Cllr George Fielding said: ‘Obviously it's very important we get the highest quality equipment for monitoring air quality, it's paramount.’

And Tory Cllr Rob New added: ‘It’s really positive to see such proactive work.

‘I think in this woke age where the environment is very important one of the things that's being said is the council is not doing enough work. This is just not true, it's been working flat out.’

It is hoped the new station will be set up by the end of this financial year.

If the government approves plans for a chargeable clean air zone in the city centre it is likely to come into force in 2021.