AQN Magazine - Issue 23 - November '23

Page 1

Issue 23

November 2023

Special Report: Electric Vehicles Greenwashing: tackling the cruise industry


Stratos and FUSION

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Editorial Comment and Contacts

Welcome to Air Quality News magazine Contacts Publisher: David Harrison 01625 614 000 Editor: Paul Day 01625 614 000 Business Development Manager: Jason Hall 07889 212414 Finance Manager: Jenny Leach 01625 614 000 Administration: Jules Pointon 01625 614 000

Air Quality News Procurement Guidepublished by Spacehouse Ltd, Pierce House, Pierce Street, Macclesfield. SK11 6EX. Tel: 01625 614 000

All rights reserved. Reproduction, in whole or part without written permission is strictly prohibited.

One of our news stories this issue covers Global Action Plan launching Clean Air Night to highlight the well-understood, but constantly overlooked dangers of wood burning. Global Action Plan’s Clean Air Day has been a tremendous success in the UK and hopefully this new public engagement campaign will have a similar impact. On the subject of wood burning, former AQN writer Georgie Hughes was shocked by the extent to which this problem pervades in New Zealand. In this issue she examines why it’s as bad as it is and what’s being done about it. A focus on health runs throughout this magazine and particularly noteworthy is the Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education (SAMHE) citizen science project which Professor Sarah West explains for us here. It’s important that such projects, which engage children in studying the quality of air around them, exist, and the fact that nearly 1,000 schools have signed up is extremely positive. Carly Hicks tells us what Opportunity Green are doing to combat greenwashing in the cruise ship business. Many operators are proudly declaring that their use of Liquified Natural Gas reduces emissions and ‘helps protect the planet’, while staying quiet about the very serious implications of the methane which leaks into the atmosphere from that very same LNG David Smith does not like Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and in this issue he explains why. He’s not alone in this view, Rosamund Kissi-Debrah is similarly set against them. It’s a contentious take but even the greatest advocates of LTNs must recognise that until everyone can live in a low traffic environment, people will perceive an element of injustice in the concept. Our Special Report looks at the current state of play with electric vehicles. Rezina Chowdhury, Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council talks about their newly published EV strategy. Lambeth have looked at the bigger picture, recognising the issues of transport poverty and that fewer cars is the ultimate goal: ‘We do not want streets clogged with vehicles – whether electric or fossil fuelled’ Also in the Special report, InfoTech’s Simon Guerrier looks at innovative uses for the millions of working lithium batteries that can no longer power EVs, while I look at the charging options available to EV owners without off-road parking. Martin Guttridge-Hewitt tries to unravel a confusing situation in London, where residents are claiming a new low emission logistics hub will increase air pollution. And Emily Whitehouse also discusses logistic hubs in her article exploring the variety of last mile delivery schemes that have been launched by councils recently.

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Pages 6-7 News: Global Action Plan launch Clean Air Night to highlight the dangers of wood burning.

Pages 26-27 Special Report: Finding use for EV batteries when they can no longer power cars

Pages 28-29 Legal: How Opportunity Green are fighting greenwashing in the cruise industry

Pages 10-12 Feature: Scientists, teachers and pupils working together to monitor the quality of the air in UK classrooms.

Pages 14-15 Feature: Are planning processes that fail to engage communities valid in the climate age?

Pages 18-19 Special Report: On-street charging without the clutter

Pages 32-33 International: A former AQN writer finds New Zealand struggling with domestic wood burning

Pages 22-24 Special Report: Lambeth Council explain the thinking behind their EV strategy

Pages 34-36 Feature: David Smith offers an alternate view on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Pages 38-39 Local Authorities: Taking petrol and diesel out of last mile deliveries




in brief

Stockholm to ban all petrol and diesel cars from city centre Stockholm will introduce a progressive low-emission zone in part of the city centre. Starting at the end of 2024, petrol and diesel cars will be banned from entering the area. Air pollution in Stockholm has been a long-standing problem. Medical research shows that children living near Stockholm streets with high emissions have reduced lung function from as early as six months of age. The low-emission zone will only permit the use of electric cars and gas cars that meet the Euro 6 emission standards and it will be introduced on 31 December next year, covering an area of around twenty blocks. The zone will then be extended in a second stage. A decision on the enlargement will be made in the first half of 2025. Motorcycles and mopeds are not covered by the ban. Lars Strömgren, Vice Mayor for Transport and Urban Environment said: ‘We have chosen an area where large numbers of cyclists and pedestrians are exposed to unhealthy air on a daily basis. It is also a part of the city that is home to forwardthinking companies that are keen to lead the transition to a more sustainable future.’ Electricity supplies and emission targets at risk unless the World doubles its grid capacity A report published by the International Energy Agency, has examined electricity grids around the world and found that 80 million km of power lines will need adding or replacing by 2040 in order for climate and energy goals to be met. And 80 million km is what we have now. The report highlights the delays that renewable projects face in connecting to the grid, while another threat to the future distribution of power is the age of current grid systems. Insulation materials degrade and circuit breakers become less reliable in their ability to trip during faults. In advanced economies who electrified early, some of the electrical assets are over 50 years old. In some countries, the shortage of grid availability has stopped the development of renewables in its tracks. In the Netherlands, the grid is 'full' until work begins to increase it in phases between 2026 and 2029. Another factor that is slowing down grid connection to new projects is that many of them are situated in remote areas and connection can take years to establish, emphasising the urgency of addressing these problem as soon as possible.


Clean Air Night to shine light on the uncomfortable truth about wood burning Global Action Plan – the organisers of Clean Air Day, the UK’s largest public engagement campaign on air pollution – are launching a new sister campaign to shine a light on the dangers of wood burning.


lean Air Night will bust key myths about wood burning by providing information to the public highlighting that wood burning is a significant source of air pollution that harms our health. The campaign will run for four weeks, culminating in Clean Air Night on Wednesday 24th January 2024 next year. Starting at sundown (4:35pm) on Clean Air Night, leading experts will further reveal the truth about wood burning to the public through a series of videos. There will also be a Clean Air Night Summit, where organisations and local authorities can speak directly to experts and share learnings. Members of the public can learn from experts on the night in a series of explainer videos and find out more about burning

wood by visiting the Clean Air Hub and exploring the hashtag #CleanAirNight. Public sector and non-profit organisations can become official supporters of Clean Air Night for free. Global Action Plan will be producing resources for supporters which will include a communications toolkit including week-by-week social media templates, newsletter copy and downloadable posters. Tessa Bartholomew-Good,

Head of Campaigns – Clean Air Programmes at Global Action Plan said: ‘Most of us have cosy memories of sitting around a fire. And of course, we all want to stay warm this winter. But the uncomfortable truth is lighting fires in our homes is the largest source of small particle air pollution in the UK, causing serious harm to our lung, heart and brain health. On top of this, burning wood produces more carbon dioxide than coal or gas.’

Guidance needed for the inclusion of air pollution on death certificates An opinion piece in the British Medical Journal calls for national guidance on the inclusion of air pollution on death certificates for clinicians.


he article was authored by Laura-Jane Smith, a respiratory physician in London and part of the Healthy Air Coalition UK; Mike Tomson, retired GP and a trustee of the Centre for Sustainable Healthcare; and Kath Brown, a GP in Cornwall, director of Greener Practice and a Global Action Plan Clean Air champion. It is ten years since Ella AdooKissi-Debrah died and three years since she became the first person

to have air pollution listed on a death certificate. To this day she remains the only one. The writers explain: 'Death certificates explain the cause of death to the family, allow them to register the death, and are a public record accessed by researchers, lawyers, and national bodies. It is important that a major source of preventable death should appear in our national statistics as this underpins decision making. The main problem of

attributing air pollution as a cause of death is that it is not included on the list of 'natural causes of death' as laid down by the Royal College of Pathologists. 'It is illogical that death from tobacco smoke exposure is considered a natural cause,' the writers say, 'whereas death from fossil fuel smoke exposure is not. Smoking and air pollution are both causes of unnatural death which should be treated in the same way on death certificates.' They are calling for guidance on the inclusion of air pollution on death certificates for clinicians, a review of when inquests should be triggered or whether the RCPath list of ‘natural’ causes of death should be amended as well as education for coroners, on the significant contribution of air pollution to deaths.


Postnatal depression linked to air pollution before and after childbirth Postnatal – or postpartum – depression (PPD) is one of the most frequent complications associated with childbirth, affecting between 10% to 20% of women worldwide.


others with PPD are vulnerable to suicide and may be more likely to commit infanticide, while infants born to mothers with PPD are thought to be at a higher risk of developing cognitive, emotional, and psychological impairments and behavioral abnormalities. Because recent research has established a link between air pollution and mental health disorders among the general population, researchers in California set out to establish

whether maternal ambient air pollution exposure could be associated with increased risks of postpartum depression. This retrospective cohort study used health records of 340,679 women who gave birth in California between January 2008 and December 2016. Participants who recorded an Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale score of 10 or higher during the six months after giving birth were referred to a clinical interview for further assessment and diagnosis. From the original

340,679 participants, 25,674 were diagnosed with postpartum depression (7.54%). Increased risks for PPD were found to be associated with exposure to ozone and PM2.5 before and after birth. No prior research has explored the difference in concentrations and components of PM2.5. For trimester-specific exposures, the researchers found that firsttrimester PM2.5 black carbon and second-trimester PM2.5 nitrate and ammonium exposures were associated with an increased risk of PPD. For long-term exposures during pregnancy and postpartum periods, PM2.5 organic matter and black carbon were the main components associated with PPD. The researchers conclude that these findings suggest that air pollution exposure is a potentially modifiable environmental risk factor for PPD and therefore an important public health issue to address for improved maternal mental health.

Council Climate Action Scorecards – the Winners and Losers In January, Climate Emergency UK published their Council Climate Plan Scorecards, an assessment of every UK council’s Climate Action Plan against several criteria of excellence.


hey have now followed this up with the Climate Action Scorecard, assessing the actual progress Councils are making towards net zero. The research, which lasted nine months, used a team of trained volunteers and consultations with over 80 organisations and experts individuals within the climate sector such as Friends of the Earth and Ashden. Council climate actions from 1st January 2019 to 31st March 2023 were evaluated and awarded scores in the following categories: Buildings & Heating, Transport, Planning & Land Use, Governance & Finance, Biodiversity, Collaboration & Engagement and Waste Reduction & Food.

Different weighting was applied to those categories depending on the council's ability to influence it. For example 30% of a county council's total score was tied up in the Transport category but for a district council, this was just 5%. Minus points were also on offer if an action that a council was taking was deemed to be

adding to carbon emissions. Information on the councils' performance was gather from publicly available material, national data and more than 4,000 Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) requests. Ultimately, only 41 councils in the UK scored over 50% for their climate action, the average score being 32%. In England 30 councils. Of the councils that score 50% or more, 26 are currently Labour run councils, six are in no overall control, five are Conservative, two are Lib Dem and two are run by Independents. Overall, the best scores were achieved by London Boroughs, with Westminster top. At the other end of the scale Thurrock managed just 9%.

in brief

Google roll out AI-driven Green Light to reduce vehicle emissions in cities Google have begun rolling out a project called 'Green Light' to help cities manage traffic more effectively and thereby reducing emissions. Google point out that there are over 1.3bn cars on the road around the world, but many of them are stuck in traffic, 'All that starting and stopping means pollution at city intersections is currently 29 times higher than on open roads. Multiply that by all the intersections around the world and problem becomes massive.' Project Green Light is using Google AI to reduce emissions in cities by analysing huge amounts of Google Maps driving trends to build smart recommendations that optimise the co-ordination and timing of traffic lights. Google create a model to understand how traffic flows through an intersection, which helps understand typical traffic patterns including starting and stopping, average wait times at a traffic light, coordination between adjacent intersections and how traffic light plans change throughout the day. Green Light is currently live at 70 intersections in 12 cities around the world, including Manchester. In the intersections where Green Light is already live, it can save fuel and lower emissions for up to 30 million car rides monthly. Heat pump grants increased by 50% and scheme extended to 2028 Grants available for the installation of domestic air source heat pumps in England and Wales have been increased from £5,000 to £7,500, making them considerably more price-competitive with gas boilers. In addition, ground source heat pump grants have risen from £6,000 to £7,500, and households can continue to access £5,000 grants for biomass boilers. The scheme has also been extended by three years to 2028, giving people more time to take advantage of the opportunity. Customers do not have to apply for the grants themselves and can check their home is eligible online. Anyone interested just needs to agree a quote for the work with an MCS certified installer, who will then do all the paperwork. Ofgem will then contact the customer after that to confirm they would like to proceed. On top of the grant increase, a new campaign – Welcome Home to Energy Efficiency – is being launched to encourage families to improve their home’s energy efficiency. £10 million has also been made available through the Heat Pump Ready programme to support innovation in the heat pump sector. 7

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UK schools help monitor classroom air quality in massive citizen science project Professor Sarah West, Director of the Stockholm Environment Institute York centre, explains how scientists, teachers and pupils are working together to help monitor and evaluate the quality of the air in UK classrooms.


early 1000 schools have already joined the SAMHE (Schools’ Air quality Monitoring for Health and Education) citizen science project. They are helping provide important data to scientists studying the quality of classroom air, whilst benefiting from a free air quality monitor linked to an interactive Web App, enabling teachers and pupils to view and investigate data on their own classroom air quality. The research team now hopes to double the number of schools involved, to generate sufficient data for analysis to clearly understand schools' air quality across the UK. SAMHE aims to provide evidence for better national policies and practice


and is expected to be the biggest study of air quality in schools anywhere in the world. The growing interest in indoor air quality Before 2020, many of us seldom worried about the air we were breathing, and when we did we were outside, near a busy road or factory. The COVID-19 pandemic focused everyone’s minds on indoor air, and the invisible disease particles potentially lurking in it, particularly in shared spaces such as offices, care homes and schools. Ventilation became the buzzword, with schools advised to ‘open windows always and fully’ during the winter of

2020-21 and later being issued with carbon dioxide monitors, to measure ventilation effectiveness. Covid prevention measures, and the research that sprang up to assess their effectiveness, was and remains crucial in tackling that disease, but it also highlighted the influence of the indoor environment on health more generally. Indoor air can affect our health and well-being not just by spreading virus particles but also due to harmful levels of particulate matter, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants, or simply from high concentrations of CO2. The average person in the UK spends more than 80% of their time indoors and, for children, a lot of that


schools’ indoor air quality. The specific research questions SAMHE will address include: l What CO2 levels, as an indication of ventilation, are typical in schools? l How does indoor air quality in schools vary with ventilation? l Does indoor air quality vary widely within a given school? l Does indoor air quality vary with the location of a school? l Can taking part in SAMHE improve people's understanding of air quality? l Can taking part in SAMHE help schools improve their indoor air quality?

SAMHE Web App, teachers and pupils can view the data from their monitor in a range of interactive chart and graph formats and see how air quality changes over the course of hours, days,weeks or months. The Web App also offers a range of curriculum-linked activities and experiments using the data, creating opportunities for pupils to be scientists and do hands-on experiments with their monitor. Co-designed with schools To ensure the success of the project it was vital that it would be welcomed and used by schools. To this end, we invited teachers and pupils to help design it.

time is at school. Children and young people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality as their bodies (including lungs and brains) are still developing and they breathe faster than adults so take in proportionally more air. We calculated (see uk/about#background) that each child breathes around 7.2 million litres of air at school. Poor air quality also impacts children’s attention levels and ability to concentrate. For all these reasons, it’s important we know what is in school air, whether it is sufficiently ‘good quality’ and, if not, what we can do about it. Those are the questions the SAMHE research project has set out to answer. A national database on school indoor air quality The Stockholm Environment Institute is one of six research organisations, led by Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge, which have come together to deliver the project, with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and support from the Department for Education. Our goal is to establish a network of air quality monitors in schools across the UK, to generate an unparalleled dataset which will help researchers better understand

Pupils and teachers as research partners SAMHE uses citizen science methods to work with teachers and pupils, enabling them to contribute to the research by providing important contextual data via a custom built Web App. Participating schools get a free AirGradient One air quality monitor that measures carbon dioxide (CO2), total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), particulate matter (PM), temperature and relative humidity. Through the

20 ‘Co-Design Schools’ worked with the team on the initial design and 120 ‘Pioneer Schools’ helped test and refine a beta version of the Web App. Judging by the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received from schools who use the Web App, we seem to have succeeded in creating a product that meets teachers’ needs and is fun and engaging for pupils. Teachers can access live data and curriculum-linked activities to support



their teaching. Pupils can improve their air quality knowledge and hone a range of data handling and other skills through fun activities. Teachers testify that pupils are more engaged when interacting with real live data about their classroom environment, especially when given agency to take informed action, such as opening a window if CO2 levels get above a certain threshold. Non-teaching staff, including buildings and finance managers, can access air quality data to inform tailored heating and ventilation policies to improve health, comfort and attention levels while reducing unnecessary costs. Elangeni School, part of SAMHE Pioneer Schools programme said: “The SAMHE monitor and app have provided our Y4/5 science group with a wealth of data to interrogate and analyse. The children’s enthusiasm has been infectious and there is tangible excitement at being able to access the data in real time at home.” Perhaps the most exciting aspect of SAMHE for schools is that it gives young people the opportunity to contribute to genuine scientific research, working together with scientists and thousands of other school children towards a cleaner, healthier school environment. Initial findings Whilst we continue to recruit schools to the project, we have already started to analyse the preliminary data. Initial data shows that daily mean PM2.5 exceeded the 15 μg/m³ daily mean threshold


recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on about 5% of days. Equivalent data on CO2 shows that daily means are very largely below the BB 101 threshold daily mean of 1500 ppm for naturally ventilated classrooms, only exceeding it on about 2% of days.

and businesses. Could your organisation be a SAMHE champion? Contact us at to discuss how this could work. One of the most exciting aspects of SAMHE is seeing how the project is supporting young people to learn about

As more monitors come online in schools across the UK, and pupils submit more contextual data (e.g. on monitor location, building style, room size and usage, windows and door opening etc) through the Web App, a greater range and depth of analysis will become possible.

the quality of the air in their classrooms, get excited about STEM through direct investigation of their own environment and their interactions with it, and feel empowered to make or suggest changes based on their understanding.

SAMHE Champions Our current priority is to recruit more schools to the project and help them set up and connect their monitors, so we get more data flowing. We’ve begun working with partner organisations who are helping us reach out to and support schools. These ‘SAMHE Champions’ range from STEM education providers and university outreach teams to local authority air quality and education teams

Further information: Would your school like to get involved? If you work or study at a UK school (excluding early years-only schools) you can take part - register at For project updates follow @SAMHEproject on X (formerly Twitter) or sign up for our newsletter via the website. To discover more research on air pollution in schools, visit the website of the TAPAS (Tackling Air Pollution At School) network


Devil in the details

Despite promising to reduce pollution, a central London masterplan has been met with opposition from air quality groups. Martin Guttridge-Hewitt attempts to navigate the confusion and asks if planning processes that fail to engage communities are valid in the climate age.


panning 150,000 square feet beneath Kingdom Street, Westminster, The Box is a deceptively simple development. A subterranean void used for storage during London’s Crossrail construction, the site is set to be transformed into a low emission urban logistics hub, which could remove 100 LGVs from roads each day, leading to a 90% reduction in carbon emissions. Developer British Land says the facility is a solution to the heavily polluting ‘last mile of online retail’. Packages will arrive at the hub by HGV, then transfer to e-cargo bikes for greenhouse gas-free onward travel to customer homes. The scheme comes with a £1million contribution towards cycle infrastructure in the area, and a sister project at surface level includes greening, landscaping, an 18-storey mixed use tower, sports, and community facilities. Despite these credentials, residents and campaigners in the area have raised serious concerns about the level of scrutiny applied when considering the scheme. Kingdom Street resident Alice Danna first contacted Air Quality News to express concerns about what The Box means for traffic and air pollution in the neighbourhood, doubts echoed by local campaigners Clean Air Bayswater. These include how a survey conducted by architecture and engineering consultancy group Ramboll could conclude no assessment of the effect on air pollution resulting from day-to-day hub operations would be necessary, even when sat within one of London’s 10 most polluted boroughs, which also falls in an Ultra Low Emission Zone aimed at curbing tailpipe fumes.



Air Quality News contacted British Land, and the company was forthcoming with information, but even this adds to confusion. Modelling accounts for 13 HGV deliveries per day, all of which will pollute. And, although 239 e-cargo bike trips every 24 hours will contribute no carbon, PM10 and PM2.5 will be emitted. Yet residents say the development was positioned as car-fee, raising questions over how that status is defined. Meanwhile, a transport audit of main routes to the hub - A404 Harrow Road, A5 Maida Vale and A40 Westway - concluded roads were suitable, but locals cite heavy congestion. All documentation is online at Westminster City Council’s planning register, showing required and recommended steps have been taken. But this only makes what Clean Air Bayswater, Danna, and other residents say more alarming. Simply put, this is where the lack of transparency around UK planning regulations and processes, along with their shortcomings, is brought into sharp relief. ‘A big problem is when you look at these things in isolation you don’t see what else is happening in the surrounding environment, so assumptions made will not necessarily add up,’ says Clean Air Bayswater’s Inge Lyngborg, citing a 3,500 home development at nearby Kelham Rise as just one example of other major schemes underway in the area. ‘You don’t look at the full community impact,’ she continues. ‘If you’re going to send out, say, 30 bikes every 15 minutes, in a densely populated and congested area, it will add to stop-start traffic, which is terrible for air pollution. You need a more comprehensive study for how things will actually work in reality.’

Distrust in how the UK approaches development, particularly in big cities, is nothing new. But the lack of public confidence is particularly concerning at a point in history when it has never been more important for developments to have a positive environmental contribution, and for all stakeholders in the vicinity to be fully engaged and included in conversations. To do that, we need clear information which does not assume expertise, and gives an opportunity for all parties to submit relevant thoughts and receive a comprehensible response. ‘Trying to understand the requirements on a developer, and if they’re meeting them, sneaking around them, or adhering to them, is incredibly hard,’ says Bayswater Cllr Max Sullivan, Deputy Cabinet Member for City Management & Air Quality. ‘And there are only certain operational elements [of developments] covered by planning permission rather than site management plans. In dispensing its duty as a planning authority, Westminster, or any other council, is only competent to make planning decisions and can’t go beyond that.’ Planning teams are also under huge pressure to retain their own decision-making powers. As Sullivan points out, when a project is blocked companies have the right to appeal. Each time that happens it costs taxpayers money, and an authority will lose its planning powers if too many appeals are upheld. Adding to the complexity, many UK regulations are woefully out of touch with the latest scientific advice. ‘A lot of this isn’t helped by fuzzy guidance around air quality, the national framework. But distinct from that is the fact developers will often make amendments to or concessions in plans right up to the meeting, making it hard for councillors and local groups to meaningfully comment,’ he continues, anecdotally recalling how new documents were submitted to a consultation on The Box in the time it took him to travel from home to the meeting. As our conversation continues it becomes clear Sullivan now supports the scheme, citing the rapid growth in online retail since the pandemic began as a major transport headache and smart logistics hubs as a viable response. But it’s also evident that, like Clean Air Bayswater, he also believes planning processes urgently need reform, not least to bring various environmental criteria in line with new research. ‘One thing I advocated for was that air pollution measurement in Westminster should be conducted against World Health Organisation guidance on safe levels, which was updated in 2021, rather than the 2015 limits the national government uses,’ Sullivan explains. ‘But that doesn’t give any additional power to the planning authority. It’s a statement of intent, and there are other things we can try and do, but the reality is guidance needs to be modernised, made more robust and easier to understand.’ According to Sullivan, one of the most powerful tools to facilitate this is the Clean Air Act, which is yet to pass through Parliament and, it is hoped, will finally enforce tighter regulations on air pollution – going some way to reassuring people that new developments will not be to the detriment of their health. The snail’s pace at which the bill is progressing is a cause for alarm, and so too is the disempowerment communities tend to feel towards masterplans drawn up on their doorstep. In the climate change era, keeping people well informed about the built environment today, what it might look like tomorrow, and why, is a key frontline battle. And without effective communication we risk leaving swathes of the population behind, while making it unnecessarily difficult to call into question decisions before they’re set in brick and mortar.



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Monitoring air quality, noise and vibration at residential development sites

Monitoring the impact of environmental noise, air quality and vibration across densely populated urban locations is becoming of heightened importance. To better protect surrounding residents Billions of people around the world Reducing congestion and from ongoing construction at a shopping centre in London, EarthSense’s are still breathing unhealthy air, and vehicle emissions partner, KP Acoustics Group were it’s the responsibility of local authorities With deadlines for Net Zero slowly inch- tasked with carrying out noise, vibration, to take charge of how cities live and ing closer, Liverpool City Region Com- and dust monitoring (PM10 and NO2) at breathe. As high emitters come from a bined Authority have set its own targets a mixed brownfield and greenfield dewide range of sources, from transport for zero emissions by 2040. To meet velopment site in the area. to community living, to construction, this goal, Zephyr® monitors have been it’s pivotal that air quality services have installed on to traffic lights across major To meet this goal, KP Acoustics Group flexibility to provide insights for various routes in Liverpool and real-time meas- split the site into two key monitoring applications. EarthSense’s comprehenurements have been integrated with sections, using high-tech noise and sive service ensures all angles can be Yunex Traffic’s urban traffic controls via vibration monitoring equipment and covered - here’s a few examples. API, providing live data for vehicle emis- EarthSense’s Zephyr® monitors to desions across the city. termine disruption. All devices used Trialling School Streets solar panels to power the monitoring London is known for being one of the Using intelligent transport systems with equipment to overcome the issue of most polluted cities in the UK, affect- integrated air quality data, traffic can be limited power on the site. To ensure ing the health and wellbeing of young- dynamically managed to reduce con- construction work adhered to noise limer generations. Taking steps towards a gestion as it occurs across the city. Liv- its and air quality levels set by conversafer and greener city, Westminster City erpool City Region Combined Authority sations from the local council, monitorCouncil used twenty of EarthSense’s are using combined solutions to identify ing was set up from September 2021. low cost, indicative Zephyr® moni- live hotspots and reroute traffic, conse- Since, ongoing monitoring at the develtors to trial School Streets across a quently minimising congestion and the opment site has successfully worked 12-month period, so it could determine associated health and environmental to minimise the associated health and whether the schemes should be rolled implications of exposure to unsafe air environmental implications of exposure out permanently to minimise the levels quality. to unsafe air quality and noise pollution of toxic pollution reaching the air that for surrounding residents. children breathe. Following the trial period, Westminster City Council could access historic NO2 and PM2.5 Zephyr® measurements through the MyAir® web app, which was compared with baseline and traffic data to assess the relationship between traffic count, pedestrian movements, and air quality. These insights provided quantitative evidence about changes in air quality that could be attributed to Clean air is a right for everyone, everywhere and managing exposure shouldn’t be limited to the caSchool Streets and found an impressive pability of the offering. EarthSense’s full service comes with a host of capabilities such as air quality source apportionment and bespoke modelling for visualising woodburning smoke emissions, 20% reduction in the number of children reports, tailpipe emissions and much more. So, whether it’s for diverting traffic, receiving air pollution alerts, or travelling to school by car. for managing children’s exposure, find out more by visiting the website:


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The Urban Electric charger slides back underground once charging is completed.

Trojan’s portable lance in operation

On-street residential charging without the clutter We need hundreds of thousands more on-street, residential EV chargers for those who don’t have access to drives and garages. Where are they coming from? AQN editor Paul Day looks at the options that don’t fill our pavements with extra street ‘furniture’.


he UK has just welcomed its 50,000th public EV chargepoint and is set to reach the 100,000th in August 2025. These charge-points are typically located in high traffic locations such as motorway service stations and shopping centre car parks. But given that VAT on domestic electricity is 5%, compared to the standard rate of 20% that users of public charging facilities pay, it’s not surprising that 80% of EVs are charged at home. Apart from the financial implications, plugging in when you get home is much more reliable and convenient. However, 60% of houses in urban areas do not have drives and this constituency is being badly overlooked. Recent research by Vauxhall reported that 72% of local authorities have no published strategy on how they will enable residential charging on streets where homes don’t have driveways. The report, published in August 2023, found there were just 17,047 residential on-street chargers in the UK – but 75% (12,708) of them are in London, leaving


just 4,339 distributed across the rest of the UK This is not a discrepancy that can be overlooked and, in some quarters, it is not. The dilemma however is twofold. Not only does the charge need delivering to the vehicle, but it needs to be done without cluttering the streets with eight million clunking great machines getting in everyone’s way. Here we look at some of the efforts under way to cater for those EV drivers who have to leave their cars on the road at night. The Lamppost Charger Lamppost charging is already a popular solution, allowing local authorities to roll out an expansive and cost-effective charge-point network, with a typical lamppost being able to be converted in less than two hours. Kensington and Chelsea Council have taken to the concept enthusiastically, turning to Ubitricity, part of the Shell group, who began trialling lamppost chargers in 2016. Having now installed around 700 lamppost chargers, the council

estimate that 90% of their residents are within 100m of a charge-point and the remainder are within 200m. The chargers have been installed on lampposts adjacent to resident and payby-phone visitor parking bays. In a sign that this technology is refusing to stand still, Otaski Energy Solutions, based in Gateshead, have been awarded £229,000 to develop a smart street lamppost capable of charging electric vehicles and sharing power back to the grid. The Portable Charger One of the concerns about living in a neighbourhood with a generous amount of on-street charging is that it attracts people from other neighbourhoods who are not so well catered for. Trojan’s innovative solution prevents that by requiring the driver to be carrying a portable ‘lance’ that attaches to the charger, which sits unobtrusively, flush to the pavement. The Trojan HUB uses a single feeder cabinet to power up to 15 charge-points on a street and such clusters have already been installed by


lamppost charging - an extremely cost effective option Barnet, Brent and Camden Councils. The charging cable and lance lock in place when charging begins and the only way to remove them is by unlocking the car. The lance monitors how much electricity is used and the car owner is billed accordingly. Complimenting the HUB is Trojan AON, aimed at individual EV owners, who get a flush chargepoint installed outside their property, which is connected to their own electricity supply, rather than a feeder cabinet. The Retractable Charger Urban Electric’s elegant UEone charger is unnoticeable until a user activates it via an app and it slowly rises up from the pavement. While the aesthetic benefits are obvious, one of its most useful features isn’t apparent to the eye - if a unit is vandalised or malfunctions, it can be replaced in half an hour. Following a trial in Dundee, Fraser Crichton, Corporate Fleet Manager at the Council said, “This was one of the most exciting projects I have ever been involved in. It provides a solution to residential street charging in both affluent and poor areas and solves issues around vandalism and street furniture deployment. But what I really love is the swap-out system, gold dust to keep the network going.” A total of 124 prototype charging bays were installed in Dundee, Plymouth and Staffordshire for Innovate UK and ADEPT Live Labs trials and, over a period of 18 months, they achieved 99.4% uptime,

significantly above the industry average. Following these pilots, Urban Electric has partnered with Balfour Beatty to commercialise the UEone and launch Urban Fox as a new chargepoint operator into the UK market. The Gully Connecting the house directly to the car is the ideal solution and a number of companies are providing solutions to do that with the minimum of fuss. County Durham recently trialled the Kerbo Charge system, which runs a charging cable through a narrow channel cut into the pavement and protected with a hinged lid. The works are carried out by the local authority’s own highways contractor, meaning a Section 50 license is notionally internally granted. Installation takes around an hour and once a visual survey has established the gulley is not close to a dropped curb, tree roots or a road turning, further survey work is usually not required because the channel is only 32mm deep, well above any buried utilities. Someone Else’s Charger Described as ‘Airbnb for electric car chargers’ community EV charging allows those with access to home charging to rent out their chargers to those without. Co Charger, who are partnered with Octopus Energy, have launched an app which connects drivers who need to use an EV charger with someone who has one they can use nearby.

Although 80% of EV owners charge at home, those chargers are only used around 5% of the time. When it is not being used, the host can list it in the app as available to book by other EV drivers. The scheme is mutually beneficial as while the cost to the person charging is considerably below that of using a public charger, the host can make up to £1,000 a year renting their charger out. The Future Who knows? As technology develops and EV batteries become smaller and cheaper, we can expect drivers to be able to unplug them and carry them into their home to charge, probably in a few minutes. In some parts of the world solar panels integrated into the car’s design might mean the battery never needs to be charged in the way we do it now. There is also the possibility that inductive charging systems can be built into cars, with charging mats beneath the road surface to provide wireless charging, As with many EV-related technological advances, Norway are already trialling this, so watch that space. The problem - and it’s one we’ll have to accept - is that the technology in batteries, and the charging of them, will develop swiftly, to the point where, in 20 years, when most of the cars on the road are electric, the infrastructure we are rolling out now will be relatively outdated. But even with that in mind, we desperately need to roll it out regardless.


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London Borough of Waltham Forest

London Borough of Waltham Forest aims to keep residents safe with digital School Street scheme. Moving from traditional traffic control methods, the London Borough of Waltham Forest has installed an integrated solution to digitally monitor traffic contraventions and air quality outside schools to improve road safety, enhance air quality and encourage active travel.

Client. London Borough of Waltham Forest Waltham Forest was one of the first London boroughs to take charge of their environment with digital technologies that support decarbonisation, traffic reduction and, most importantly, resident safety and health. As part of a phased development plan, the Council is working towards making Waltham Forest a safer place to live with current interventions to encourage active travel and improve road safety. The existing schemes will integrate with their pollution reduction and traffic management scheme outside specific schools to improve the air and remove idling vehicles from areas where people are most vulnerable.

Solution. CCTV traffic monitoring and hyperlocal air quality monitoring Waltham Forest upgraded its traffic monitoring, where needed, by replacing existing CCTV cameras with advanced Videalert devices, a leading UK provider. Integrated with the latest PCN (penalty charge notice) processing systems, these certified cameras are used to capture vehicles with unauthorised access during school pick-up and drop-off times. By reducing traffic outside schools, the Council gauges carbon reduction impact, validates school street effectiveness, and plan engagement programmes for a sustainable community. The combined data informs policymaking for clean air and road enhancements,

Challenge. How to know where to act?

contributing to residents' quality of life. This will also help the

Over the years, several pollution reduction and traffic

studies to improve children’s mental and physical well-being

management approaches have been trialled and are currently in

school encourage active travel transport that has proven through walking, cycling or scoot to school.

operation. However, previous interventions have been difficult to validate accurately due to a lack of localised data monitoring from new technologies. Pollution in the borough stems from various sources, including external origins. Within the borough, major contributors to pollution are motorised vehicles, emitting particularly NO2 and particulate matter. The Council sought an

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approach to gauge and oversee the impact of a school street intervention for pollution attribution. This involved temporal

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pick-up and drop-off times, when exclusive vehicle access applies around specific schools.

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Our goal is to make Waltham Forest a safer place to live. Thanks to installing VTX Air sensors and Videalert CCTV cameras, we now have real-time insight into our air quality and controlled traffic measures that aim to improve road safety, improve traffic flow and reduce traffic-related emissions." Anthony Hall Assistant Director for Highways and Parking Services at the London Borough of Waltham Forest

Real-time, hyperlocal air quality data - on NO2, O3, PM2.5, and PM10 Bespoke-built Mesh Network – calibrations and updates are done remotely Service desk support


An EV strategy for everyone: Lambeth Council look at the bigger picture

By Councillor Rezina Chowdhury, Deputy Leader of Lambeth Council and Cabinet Member for Sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air


hen I read the heartbreaking words of Rosamund Kissi-Debrah on the loss of her nine-year old daughter Ella to air pollution from the South Circular Road, I knew we needed to act faster on this issue. Air pollution is a poison running through our community that wrecks, shortens and takes lives and as cabinet member with responsibility for air quality at Lambeth Council, I am determined that we stop it now. The London Borough of Lambeth is home to more than 317,000 people, a place where thousands more come to work, and millions come to visit each year to see the sights and our famous landmarks. It is a place with a long history of fighting for social justice, equality and calling for progressive change to make peoples’ lives better. It was in that rich tradition that we became one of the first local authorities in England to declare a Climate Emergency in January 2019 to recognise that urgent climate actions need to be taken now, not kicked into the long grass for future generations to deal with. We knew we had to devise policies that were sustainable, fair, and just, while also planning for the long-term vision of a borough that was less dependent on cars and had better infrastructure around active travel to help people lead healthier lives.


The case for clean air We were confronted by the fact that air pollution, including the toxic emissions pumped out of the exhausts of petrol and diesel cars, is killing people in our city. While dirty air comes from many sources, councils have the powers and tools to tackle pollution from transport and so I will focus on this here. The Local Government Association estimates that air pollution leads to more than 9,400 premature deaths each year, costing the NHS between £1.4bn to £3.7bn. We know in Lambeth that around a quarter of air pollution comes from road traffic, while having one of the lowest car ownership levels in London with only around four in ten households having access to a private car or van. It was clear we needed to treat the climate crisis as a public health crisis too.


Foundations for change Two years ago, the council published its Climate Action Plan to set out bold and ambitious targets for us to reach Net Zero by 2030. It outlined measures we need to take to reduce our carbon footprint as a council, as well as how we need a behavioural shift away from motor vehicle dependence to healthier, more active ways to get around. Analysis of Net Zero pathways by the Greater London Authority informed our target that the overall vehicle journeys in the borough needed to fall by 27 per cent, while improving active travel routes so 85 per cent of future journeys are completed by walking, cycling, scooting, or wheeling. Central to our response to air pollution is the roll out of low traffic neighbourhoods across the borough. I know there are concerns about displacement among some in the air quality community. However, the evidence from our LTNs is that when you give people safe walking and cycling routes they leave their car at home and traffic falls both on neighbourhood and boundary roads. Furthermore, I think it is important to look beyond individual schemes in the short term and ask ourselves whether air quality would be better in a city full of LTNs or one without them. For me, the answer is both obvious and borne out by the evidence. LTNs are strategic and will save many lives in the long run. At the same time, we are realistic that some households will need access to motor vehicles for a variety of circumstances, like residents with a blue badge or who need a car club to move a bulky item. We support disabled drivers

by granting dispensations at some of our LTN filters and giving free parking to blue badge holders. We encourage residents and businesses who otherwise need a car to drive cleaner vehicles and we price our parking permits so that more polluting cars pay more. We recently published an Electric Vehicle (EV) strategy to support the transition to cleaner vehicles. The UK Government has recently pushed back plans to stop the production of petrol and diesel vehicles until 2035, but the demand for EVs is growing already. EVs are not without their significant drawbacks, not least the environmental damage caused during the production process and ongoing air pollution from their tyres and brakes. They will not do anything to address the hundreds of people being killed on London's roads every year. We do not want streets clogged with vehicles – whether electric or fossil fuelled. Instead, the balance had to be struck between providing the EV infrastructure for the residents who needed it, without losing sight of our desperate need to embrace sustainable, active and healthy travel. Transport Poverty Encouraging more people to switch up to EVs also does nothing to address the issue of transport poverty where households struggle to make ends meet purely to keep their car on the road because of a lack of alternative options. To break the chain, we are already committing significant funds to improving alternative forms of travel so households can feel confident in giving up their vehicles but still being



able to easily travel throughout the borough. We are investing in new Healthy Routes to create safe ways to complete journeys around Lambeth while avoiding main roads and busy junctions. Road danger is another factor in whether people feel confident switching from their cars, so simply replacing petrol and diesel vehicles with EVs will not change that. The social justice of car dominated cities is also stark - data shows people living in our most deprived areas are 2.5 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a collision on the road. These considerations were crucial when our project team sat down in 2021 to begin to plan what a future Lambeth EV Strategy could look like. Lambeth Electric Vehicle Strategy The council’s challenge was to devise a long-term strategy that maintains our commitments to active travel and ending car dependency, with our responsibility to provide the EV infrastructure that will be needed by some residents in 2030. Initial conversations were held across the whole of Lambeth Council to understand the needs of different service areas and the requirements of a future EV fleet. Further conversations were held with housing estate residents and some of the larger employers within Lambeth’s gig economy. The team then commissioned research to map out the present demand for EV charging infrastructure and how that may change year-on-year. This data allowed the project team to forecast how many charging points will be needed now and in the future. It required a delicate balancing act between ensuring the infrastructure is in place for EV, while making sure Lambeth does not become one giant battery-park for EVs.


This data modelling will also help shape delivery plans for charging points each year to make sure they accurately reflect the demand. We will also consider the placement of charging points, so they are in the correct places and at the correct density. The Lambeth Electric Vehicle Strategy also outlines the types of charging points that will be available, from regular, fast, and rapid speeds. We want to make sure the types of charging points are appropriate for each proposed location. The regular speed charging points are more suitable for residential areas where drivers can plug in overnight, while the fastest rapid charge points are better suited near busier areas. Finally, our strategy means Lambeth council will be the owner and operator of this new EV network rather than looking for a partner in the private sector. Our model ensures any revenue generated by the charging points will be reinvested back into the council to support other projects, meaning the initial investments help make the network sustainable. It will help us get more value for money for our residents, as well as making this financially sustainable in the long-term. Conclusion Action on air quality has never been more urgent and requires action to encourage the shift from private fossil fuel vehicles to active travel and EVs where necessary. At Lambeth Council, we are driving this shift through changes to our streets, parking policies and EV strategy. We are already seeing cleaner air, and car ownership in the borough is declining, but we won’t stop until everyone can breathe air that the World Health Organisation has determined to be safe.

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Second-life batteries: Realising the potential of EV batteries when it can no longer power the car We need innovative uses for the millions of working lithium batteries that can no longer power EVs. and InfoTech’s Simon Guerrier says we’re getting them…


lectronic devices have a single life. Generally, we use a phone or laptop until they stop working, then dispose of them. If a device still works but not as well as it used to, we might give it away second-hand – it might then have two owners, though still only one life. However, a single life isn’t good enough when it comes to the lithium batteries used to power most electric vehicles (EVs). We need to understand


why that is before we can dig into what can be done about it. The lithium batteries used in EVs are generally the most expensive component of the vehicle. One reason is that you need a lot of lithium to power a car: an average EV battery contains 8 to 10kg but some EV batteries contain more than 60kg of lithium. The batteries also contain sizeable quantities of elements such as cobalt, copper and manganese. These

might not be especially rare but they’re needed at considerable scale to service the fast-growing market for EVs. For example, in 2022 there were more than 1.6m new vehicle registrations in the UK. Of these, 267,203 were for battery-powered EVs and a further 581,406 were hybrid vehicles of some kind, making a total of 848,609 new vehicles – more than half of all new registrations – with some kind of battery inside. Given the

Feature average of 8 to 10kg per battery, that equates to between 6,800 and 8,500 tonnes of lithium in a single year, just in the UK. And the market is growing rapidly. Sourcing enough lithium to meet demand is going to be a challenge. Then there’s the issue of batteries having a single life. All batteries wear out. Charging and recharging them affects the chemistry inside, over time reducing the amount of charge they can hold and ultimately stopping them working. Temperature can also affect performance, so particularly hot or cold days can be bad for batteries. The speed at which we recharge batteries is also an issue: faster charging makes the battery warmer, which in turn affects performance. Lithium is especially resilient to such factors and lithium batteries used in EVs have a relatively long life. If you buy an EV today, its lithium battery will probably be guaranteed to retain at least 80% capacity for eight years or 100,000 miles. This is roughly the same time and distance that things start to go wrong with a car fuelled by petrol or diesel, so is more or less the average lifespan of conventional vehicles. Most drivers will simply replace their vehicle within this time frame. If you’ve made the switch to EVs, that means a new vehicle with a whole new guarantee of eight years’ high performance – perhaps more, given the rate at which technology advances. But this also means that in 2030, the EVs bought in 2022 will come to their end of their guarantees. Some drivers might be happy to keep the same vehicle despite reduced performance. Others might be willing to buy a second-hand EV at a discount because of lower capacity. However, the expectation is that the majority of batteries will no longer be used in EVs once that initial guarantee elapses. That leaves us with more than 800,000 lithium batteries that have up to 80% of their capacity remaining. One option is to recycle the old batteries to make new ones, which will help meet the demand for new EVs. This is easier said than done. Estimates suggest that in 2022 just 5% of lithium was being recycled. A major reason for this is that it’s currently much cheaper to source new lithium than to extract relatively small amounts of it (and other materials such as cobalt, copper, manganese and nickel) from complex

battery components. But that is liable to change in the next few years. For one thing, the EU has ruled that from 1 January 2030, EV batteries must contain a minimum of reclaimed material, with 4% of all lithium used having been recycled. For another, industrial methods to recycle old batteries are improving very fast. The technique is to crush and shred the batteries, producing a waste product known as ‘black mass’ from which the lithium and other materials (copper, cobalt, manganese, nickel etc) can be more easily accessed. The UK’s first large-scale lithium-recycling plant

to store renewable energy from sources such as solar and wind. This is significant because there have been challenges in connecting such renewable sources to the national grid. In some cases, renewable energy projects must wait a decade to be connected. Once connected, there may be limits on how much energy can be transferred at one time. The issue is that the national grid is not so much an energy store (ie a large battery) as a means of distributing energy. But the upshot is that some wind farms actually power down during windy periods because there isn’t sufficient local demand for energy and no means

opened in April 2023, with capacity to process up to 20,000 tonnes of batteries per year. Black mass is currently a lowvalue byproduct and, as toxic waste, is subject to various controls. Yet, with rising demand for lithium, there is likely to be increased demand for black mass – and a corresponding rise in price. China and South Korea are well ahead in recycling black mass. In fact, China has even banned exports of its own black mass to other countries, recognising its value. Several industry bodies recently called for the EU to follow suit, to ensure access is retained to this needed feedstock. But this isn’t the only way that EV batteries can have a second life. In the summer of 2023, Jaguar Land Rover announced plans for a battery energy storage system (BESS) comprising batteries that no longer have sufficient capacity to be used in EVs. With up to 80% of their capacity still intact, these batteries can be used

to share or store the excess. Jaguar Land Rover isn't the only company to see the potential for EV batteries to solve this mismatch. In September, Volvo Energy and Connected Energy announced plans for their own BESS system. UK Power Networks has even suggested that batteries still in use in EVs and parked in long-stay airport car parks could be used in a similar way, providing some 4.3GW of grid flexibility. The extraordinary thought is that we can make such renewable sources more viable on a considerable scale, dramatically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. That would in turn mean less need to import such fuels, lowering costs and overall carbon footprint — all as a by product of EVs. Lithium batteries can be used in this manner until they reach a low threshold of capacity and can then be sent for recycling as black mass, ensuring we get the most value from this precious commodity.



Cruise companies: stop fobbing us off with false pollution solutions By Carly Hicks, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer & Legal Director at Opportunity Green


t Opportunity Green, we use law, policy and economics to take bold climate action and we believe that using the law can help us to speed up decarbonisation pathways. Greenwashing is increasingly a key area of focus for regulators everywhere. Companies are facing civil and even criminal liability where their environmental claims are shown to be misleading. Draft legislation sitting on the table in Brussels will lay down requirements for all environmental claims made by companies directed at EU consumers. In the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are actively investing in a number of companies and industries for misleading green advertising. In that context, the legal team at Opportunity Green conducted an in-depth investigation into some of the worlds’ biggest cruise companies and their advertisement of liquefied natural gas, or fossil LNG. The results led us to file a series of advertising standards complaints against some of the biggest cruise companies in the world for alleged greenwashing. Sensational ads are a smokescreen Here are just a couple of examples of the ads we looked at: “Our newest ship, Costa Smerelda, will use Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to reduce gas emissions and help protect the planet” “Meeting the desires of a booming cruise market, while also working to protect our environment!” It sounds great, doesn’t it? Indeed, when fossil LNG is used as a fuel in cruise ships, burning it releases lower nitrous oxide and sulphur oxide emissions into the air than


traditional fuels. This is important when these vast vessels spend a lot of time docked and idling in ports across the world, with their enormous smokestacks churning out gases and other ultrafine particles into the atmosphere. These air quality benefits, plus the fact that using LNG results in less carbon dioxide emissions when it is burned on ships, have been capitalised on by some of the biggest international cruise companies. The likes of Carnival Corporation & plc, MSC Cruises, and Royal Caribbean Group are widely advertising their new LNG-ready ships as being ‘clean’, ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly’, and their cruise holidays as ‘sustainable’. The problem is, these sensational claims don’t tell the full truth. While there might be some air quality benefits to using LNG in ports, the “booming cruise market” coming in and out of Europe’s ports means that port pollution, its effect of that on port communities, is still an enormous air quality issue. Simply swapping in LNG may improve that, but it won’t solve it. If air pollution in ports is the concern, the most ‘sustainable’ thing to do is to reduce cruise traffic into them. As Transport & Environment reported, Venice – formerly the most polluted port in Europe – dropped 40 places on Europe's most polluted list since introducing a ban on large cruise ships. And there’s a more fundamental problem. While fossil LNG may offer some limited benefits in terms of air pollution and help companies meet International Maritime Organization sulphur reduction targets, its use in cruise ships has a devastating overall climate impact. If we think about the effect of LNG on climate ‘air quality’, the benefits rapidly evaporate. They certainly don’t tally up with the sensational advertising claims we have seen.

Legal 76% of British cruise passengers who sailed in the past 12 months said they were ‘much more’ or ‘more’ aware of environmental and sustainable tourism. Recent research by McKinsey in the US showed that consumer goods products labelled with ESG-related claims like ‘eco-friendly’ and ‘environmentally sustainable’ saw greater market growth over five years than products that did not make similar claims. The IPCC has noted how corporate advertising strategies have sought to appropriate the emotional power of climate change for the benefit of their own brand building. It's clear that sustainability sells. At Opportunity Green we don’t think it’s fair that some of the biggest cruise companies in the world are packaging up a notoriously unsustainable way to travel as the complete opposite. And worse, they are benefitting commercially from doing so. That is why we have filed a series of advertising standards complaints against some of the worst advertising we’ve seen. This includes cruise companies claiming that fossil-LNG is “a breakthrough green technology”, “among the cleanest fuels in the world”, and that it is a milestone on the “journey to zero emissions operations”. We want to hold these companies to account and stop them misleading consumers about the climate impact of their holiday.

Why does methane matter? LNG consists primarily of methane, an extremely powerful greenhouse gas (GHG), which has climate impacts over 80 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Methane is responsible for about 30% of the heating effect of climate change. It leaks into the atmosphere through the entire lifecycle of fossil LNG, and the leakage is particularly bad from the type of engines used by cruise ships. As a result, when used in cruise ships, fossil LNG can even lead to overall increased lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fuels. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said that “strong, rapid and sustained” cuts to methane emissions are needed to keep the Paris Agreement 1.5°C temperature goal within reach, as well as improve air quality by reducing global surface ozone. Yet, as a result of investments in LNG across the cruise industry, methane emissions in European Exclusive Zones increased fivefold between 2019 and 2022. Three out of four major cruise operators are currently investing in fossil LNG, and 61% of cruise ships currently on the order books will rely on fossil LNG as primary propulsion. Alarm bells must be ringing. But not in the cruise industry, where as a holidaymaker you’d be forgiven for believing that taking a cruise on a fossil LNG-powered ship was practically climate action. At Opportunity Green, we knew this was a problem, which is why we wanted to research the practice in more detail. We were astonished to uncover how systemic this type of advertising is across a large part of the cruise industry. How we are being greenwashed This advertising makes a difference. Cruises are a popular choice of holiday in the UK. In 2022, British and Irish passengers took 1.7 million cruises, and 20.4 million people took a cruise worldwide. Data from the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) also shows that

It’s time to call cruise companies out It is not ok to mislead consumers about the true climate effect of fossil LNG and we want to make that clear to cruise companies. Not only that, but we will not enable them to avoid scrutiny and corporate responsibility through greenwashing. We believe that using the legal system to shine a light on greenwashing is important to stop companies misleading consumers about the products they buy. It also matters because this tactic enables companies to push the responsibility of climate change elsewhere, and satisfy increasing investor interest in corporate climate mitigation efforts, while continuing with more-or-less business as usual. The most blatant examples of these attempts to deflect responsibility from company to consumers we saw were from Royal Caribbean, who encouraged customers to enjoy “zero-carbon outdoor fun” by doing a few laps around the onboard jogging track, and to consider changing energy supplier to one reliant on renewable energy. Greenwashing is pervasive across a number of industries; the CMA in the UK is currently investigating the fashion and consumer goods industries and is likely to open future investigations, while the ASA deals with complaints of greenwashing made against companies ranging from Shell to the manufacturers of bamboo toothbrushes. As consumers, we must try to be alive to what companies are trying to sell us, and how. Business leaders must be honest with themselves and their investors about the challenges they face in mitigating and adapting to climate change, and seek real, positive alternatives. The law is clear: misleading consumers is not ok, and as climate lawyers we will use legal action where companies don’t behave responsibly. The world deserves better than smokescreen solutions. Download Opportunity Green’s report (Un)Sustainable from Ship to Shore for more details on how fossil LNG is being widely promoted as a ‘climate-friendly’ alternative shipping fuel in the cruise industry.


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Trying to shake the wood burning habit in New Zealand When journalist Georgie Hughes left Air Quality News to spend a year in New Zealand, she was amazed by the country’s enthusiasm for wood burning. Here she examines why it’s so popular down under.


efore I moved to New Zealand I pictured crystal clear waters, majestic mountains and clean, fresh air completely untouched by pollution. But since arriving in this amazing country, it’s fair to say there have been some unexpected surprises. I never expected to hear the phrase ‘good as gold’ so often or to pay quite so much for a pack of cherry tomatoes, but the biggest surprise was the prevalence of wood burning here. As chimney smoke choked my small town over winter, I wondered how, in a country which prides itself on its environment, such a damaging activity could be so popular? Ever since energy prices skyrocketed, wood burning has been increasing in popularity in the UK, with log sellers reporting a significant jump in demand last year. What was once an aesthetic choice, an occassional activity to enhance cosiness at Christmas, has become a necessity in some homes to reduce high energy bills. In Aotearoa, the original Māori name for New Zealand, wood burning has been a popular source of home heating for years, even prior to the energy crisis. Environmental Health Intelligence New Zealand (EHINZ) found that in 2018 one third of private dwellings used wood burners or pellet fires as their main form of heating. In the UK a 2015 government survey revealed that only 7.5% of the population used wood fuel


for some of their heating. Instead it’s far more common for British households to have central heating. 98.5% of households in England and Wales reported so in the 2021 UK Census. Living in the UK I’d become accustomed to this and had rather a nasty shock when I arrived in NZ where only 18.1% of homes used gas heaters in 2018. Now I was thrust into a home with single glazing that was almost entirely reliant on a wood burner for heat, save for the small electric heater in my bedroom. Goodbye central heating, hello condensation and mould. If, like me, you're confused as to why central heating isn’t popular out here, it turns out that lack of infrastructure is part of the problem. Natural gas pipelines have only been built on the North Island, meaning inhabitants in the south are only able to access LPG gas bottles. Additonally, Kiwis were already facing expensive gas bills prior to the energy crisis, leading many households in Aotearoa to choose cheap wood to fuel their homes. Readers of Air Quality News are well aware of the negatives of burning wood, as particulate matter expelled from wood burners has been linked to heart and lung disease and respiratory problems like asthma and strokes. A 2016 report from New Zealand’s Ministry for Environment found that air pollution was responsible for 3,300 premature deaths per year, over 13,200 cases of childhood asthma and 13,100 hospital admissions for respiratory illnesses. This has also resulted in social costs of around $15.6bn per year. National air quality standards are seeking to combat this, with some legislation taking particular aim at wood burners. These vary from prohibiting the use of open fires, restrictions on the age and type of wood burner that can be used and the type of materials that can be burned. Paul Hopwood, principal water and land implementation advisor for Environment Canterbury, says these regulations have proved a success for his region’s air quality: ‘Air quality in our largest towns has improved markedly in recent years, with a requirement to progressively improve air quality in areas identified as polluted airsheds,’ he said. ‘Air quality has improved in Christchurch over the past 10 years, from approximately 20 exceedances in 2013 to just two in 2023 (PM10 standard). Environment


Canterbury also have a target to achieve zero exceedances of PM2.5. by 2030.’ PM2.5. events, however, are more common in Christchurch, with 10 exceedances this year, while other parts of the region, like Kaiapoi and Timaru, have seen 23 and 27 PM2.5 events. These exceedances could be as high as 30μg m3, since NZ has no national standards for PM2.5. In the UK, annual mean PM2.5. concentrations are limited to 1030μg m3 through legally binding government targets. But the success of tackling PM10 emissions across the country has brought hugely beneficial results. The city of Rotorua on the North Island has historically had some of the worst air quality in New Zealand, but monitoring sites have shown that the city has gone from 37 exceedances of the PM10 limit in 2008 to one in 2020 and none at all in 2021. Toi Te Ora Public Health medical officer Dr Gregory Evans spoke recently to the council about the impact this has had on the community. He estimated that early adult deaths due to domestic fireproduced air pollution had reduced from 40 in 2009 to 19 in 2022 and the number of years of lives lost had reduced from 596 to 245. With so many NZ homes lacking any kind of insulation or double glazing, it's also imperative that housing energy efficiency is improved to reduce reliance on wood burners. If Brits think they have it bad, with some of the draughtiest homes in Europe, they would be out of their depth living in a home on the chilly South Island. Aotearoa’s official data agency found that 76% of homes were entirely single-glazed in 2020 compared to just 6% in the UK, and 14% of Kiwi’s were concerned that their homes were too cold in winter. New Zealand’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority’s Warmer Kiwi Homes Programme seeks to address this by helping to cover costs of insulation and new energy efficient heaters for homes that need it. Henry Nepia, Manager of Warmer Kiwi Homes, said the programme has helped to make a difference to a large number of homes, keeping costs down and lowering carbon emissions. He said: ‘Since Warmer Kiwi Homes launched in 2018, the programme has completed 132,433 retrofits to make homes warmer, drier and healthier. The grants cover 80-90% of the cost of ceiling and underfloor

insulation, and up to 80% of the cost of an energy efficient heater, usually a heat pump. We also have relationships with community organisations across the country who provide topup funding, meaning many homeowners get their insulation and heating at even lower, or no, cost.’ New Zealanders may seem behind in their chronic use of wood burners, but they’re light years ahead in their use of heat

pumps. This is the most popular form of heating in the country, with 47.3% of households using them. Heat pump installation may have reached over 3,000 per month for the first time this year in the UK, but it’s a long way until nearly half the population uses one. With the current successes of wood burner regulations and the popularity of energy efficient heat pumps it isn’t difficult to see how New Zealand can get its air quality back on track and turn away from polluting wood burners. The nation down under currently has some of the cleanest air in the world, despite its wood habit. The UK could definitely learn a thing or two on how to reduce air pollution, as wood burning becomes ever more popular during the energy crisis.


The injustices of Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) schemes David Smith is a clean air & social justice campaigner also known by his Twitter (X) handle @LittleNinjaUK which he created in 2016 as part of a campaign to reduce air pollution exposure for poor and black children disproportionately impacted by vehicle emissions on London’s community main roads, high streets and Red Routes. David is a non-car owning cyclist, an ambassador for cargo bikes and a powerful advocate of school streets and public transport.


ow Traffic Neighbourhood schemes relocate traffic from selected minor roads onto community main roads, high streets and Red Routes where less affluent people and people of colour are more likely to live, work, shop, walk, bus and their children are more likely to attend school. These 'sacrificial' roads receiving LTN displaced traffic are often not on the boundary of an LTN. Council data shows thousands of vehicles a day being displaced from LTNs onto sacrificial roads. TfL’s data show buses delayed and curtailed in their journeys on LTN sacrificial roads. Those who live on LTN sacrificial roads report extended rush hours with heightened noise and congestion starting earlier in the day and lasting later into the night. Rosamund Kissi-Debrah, World Health Organisation clean air advocate and mother of Ella, the first person in the world to have air pollution on their death certificate spoke in April 2021 about the increased traffic on a LTN sacrificial road - “For people like me who live near the South Circular, LTNs have made air pollution a lot worse… The thing I struggle with the most is the disingenuous aspect of it. Can


you really bring in a policy that makes air pollution worse for those already impacted, those already marginalised... I’m fed up of people telling me that my lived experiences aren’t real – it’s environmental racism, it’s a lung apartheid." [1] LTN literatuan main roads are low in percentage terms but even a small percentage increase to main road traffic can mean thousands of additional vehicles, severe congestion and increased toxic vehicle emissions that shorten lives and reduce children's lung growth. Researchers found a 29% rise in asthma risk for each increase in PM2.5 of 6.3 micrograms per cubic metre. And there was a 16% rise in asthma risk for each increase of NO2 of 8.2 micrograms per cubic metre. [2] Supporters of LTNs argue that on a macro level the most deprived boroughs in London are more likely to have a new LTN than the least deprived but this fails to address the micro level reality that many LTNs are implemented on affluent high car ownership roads and traffic is relocated to the areas of high deprivation and low car ownership as shown clearly in Enfield using 2021 census (disadvantage, ethnicity, car ownership) and TfL crashmap data. [3] A 2019 study from King’s College London found that

"Living near a busy road increases a person’s chance of developing lung cancer by 10% and stunts the growth of children’s lungs by 14%." [4] Research led by academics at the Air Quality Management Resource Centre (AQMRC) found households in the poorest areas emit the least nitrogen oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), whilst the least poor areas emitted the highest, per kilometre vehicle emissions per household. This was due to these richer households having higher vehicle ownership, owning more diesel vehicles and driving further, the study said. The research also found that traffic pollution within poor areas is likely to be caused by those living in relatively more affluent areas, further compounding the environmental injustice. [5] Air pollution is not evenly distributed, and its impact disproportionately affects minority ethnic and low income communities. Those most likely to live near busy arterial roads, motorways, and transport hubs. Half the city’s recorded childhood asthma hospitalisations between 2021 and 2022 were from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups. The fact that NO2 levels in these communities are on average 16 to 27% higher than majority white neighbourhoods is no coincidence. [6] Yet LTN activists continually argue that these roads, where Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups are more likely to live, are where all "traffic belongs”. Dr Robert Bullard in his book Dumping in Dixie, defines environmental racism as “any policy, practice or directive that differentially affects or disadvantages (where intended or unintended) individuals, groups or communities based on race.” [7] In August 2020, The World Economic Forum asked the question, What is environmental racism and how can we fight it? They shared the disturbing truth that Black British children are exposed to up to 30% more air pollution than their white counterparts. [8]

So knowing all this, how did we get to the situation where councils are knowingly and actively increasing traffic danger and air pollution exposure for those least responsible and already at greater risk on Red Routes, high streets and community main roads? In 2018, I was regularly invited to Clean Air, City Hall, Local Council and Extinction Rebellion events to talk about the social injustice of air pollution impacting poorer communities and children. There was genuine support to address the lifestyle choices of affluent communities with high car ownership, to burn the minimum amount of fuel for journeys made and to encourage walking, scooting, cycling and public transport use. Many of us began role modelling the changes we wanted to see. I collaborated with Extinction Rebellion to stop traffic on the A3 (West Hill in Wandsworth) and encouraged motorists to switch off their engines for five minutes to show it made no difference to their journey time but drastically reduced noise and air pollution. [9] I successfully campaigned for one of the three lanes on West Hill to be made into a bus lane. I stood alongside the head teacher at my son's primary school and unofficially introduced Wandsworth's first School Street, then video blogged parent and local resident support until the council made the School Street permanent. This was then spoken about in Parliament by our local MP and highlighted as a major success by both parties. I took my kids everywhere I could by cargo bike, gave free test rides to parents who then purchased their own cargo bikes, massively increasing visibility of this amazing form of transport for kids on the school run. I purchased a scientific grade air pollution monitor for £6,250 and demonstrated that local air pollution was two to three times above legal limits on our local community roads. I then shared solutions with TfL senior management teams and the Mayor for London. There were cycling groups campaigning to close their high car ownership side roads, like in Stoke Newington, but the vast majority of local residents and businesses rejected their LTN proposal at local consultation stage. Air pollution campaigners, doctors and professors stood with the parents of 3,500 children who would have experienced increased air pollution exposure if the road closures had gone ahead. [10] Then Covid hit. In the UK, of the first 2,249 patients with confirmed Covid-19, 35% were non-white. This is much higher than the proportion of non-white people in England and Wales – 14%, according to the most recent census at the time. [11] "The evidence we have is pretty clear that people who have been living in places that are more polluted over time, are more likely to die from coronavirus"... The Harvard researchers say their findings are particularly important for poor minority communities, who tend to be more exposed to air pollution, contributing to a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. [12] "Combating environmental racism may risk falling down the policy in the age of COVID-19 – and yet with non-white people more likely to die from the virus, the higher instances of complicating factors such as asthma and heart disease brought about by exposure to pollution are likely to play a part. Environmental racism is part of the broader picture of systemic racism, which must be fought to bring about a fairer society." Peter Beech, World Economic Forum writer. [13] The UK covid emergency response should have been to protect those most at risk, the poor minority communities already dying disproportionately due to long term exposure to



air pollution Instead, the focus was on protecting households in more affluent areas. Covid 'emergency’ measures required no consultation, modelling or thorough Equality Impact Assessments and so LTNs were imposed, relocating and increasing traffic and its pollution on the very roads where Londoners were most at risk. The urgent need for a covid emergency response ended yet councils continue to impose LTNs on communities even when the majority are opposed to the schemes. Councils are making millions each year from fines and LTN homeowners are seeing a rise in their property value on their even quieter roads, whilst poor & BAME communities experience slower bus journeys and increased vehicle emissions as they walk, shop, work, learn and play on even more congested community roads. The injustice of LTNs is an uncomfortable truth. If you deplatform, gaslight and exclude those speaking this truth, it reduces the discomfort but sadly allows injustice to thrive. This is what happened to me, David Smith @LittleNinjaUK, once I spoke about the social injustice of Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes. The message I received from cycling campaign groups was clear, campaign for clean air but if you can’t support LTNs be silent or be silenced. Recently described as a "hairbrained scheme", by the Prime Minister who has promised an independent review, LTNs are now being recognised as a false covid response and as a false pollution solution. It's been three years in the 'clean air wilderness'. I continue to lead by example, role modelling and promoting real solutions to tackle the injustice of air pollution. My sincere hope is that all clean air and climate campaigners will start to examine schemes and policies through the lens of social, racial and environmental justice and not shy away from uncomfortable conversations that will deliver real solutions for a just city.




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Local Authority

How last mile delivery schemes are helping councils provide cleaner air A variety of last mile delivery schemes have been launched by councils recently to help reduce the use of the more polluting alternatives. Journalist Emily Whitehouse examines three of them.

The launch of a six-month micro logistics hub trial in Wandsworth


n 2022 transport accounted for 34% of all territorial carbon dioxide emissions and the vast majority of that figure was from road transport. 34% represents a return to pre-pandemic levels and while such resilience would be admirable in many other sectors, in this context, it is worrying. Ironically, the covid lockdown itself is partly responsible for this, having turned previously reluctant internet shoppers onto the benefits of buying online. Post-lockdown, it seems that this new-found enthusiasm for having things delivered remains undiminished - the UK is ranked third for online shopping worldwide - leading to an increase of vans and delivery trucks on the road. Recognising the scale of the problem, the Local Government Association commissioned research to explore the role of local authorities in ‘co-designing and implementing sustainable local freight solutions for the last mile of parcel deliveries’. Some local authorities have address the last mile issue head-on and examples of this are particularly evident in London. Inspired by a scheme launched by Westminster City Council in Pimlico, Wandsworth Council recently opened a new ‘micro-logistics hub’ where parcels will be loaded onto e-cargo bikes and delivered locally.


A spokesperson from the council told us. ‘Last month we updated our air quality action plan which included a major focus on cycling as we are promoting the use of less cars on roads. After seeing the success the e-cargo bike trial scheme was having in Pimlico we decided to trial something similar. As a council we have three community e-cargo bikes available for hire to encourage residents to ditch their cars, but we also want to go the extra mile and promote greener delivery services.’ The council also added that the scheme in Pimlico led to a total emissions reduction of 1,613kg of CO2, 6,388g of NOx, and 105g of PM2.5. Furthermore, it was found that cargo bikes were 1.6 times faster than vans. The cargo bike hub is part of the Defra-funded Smarter Greener logistics project which is run and managed by The Cross River Partnership, something the council are grateful for: ‘It is a huge relief since the cost-of-living crisis has left our budgets stretched, with little room to implement loads of new green projects.’ Hammersmith & Fulham’s ‘Parcels Not Pollution’ scheme, which was launched in 2019 has helped more than 100 local businesses switch to using cargo bikes for deliveries around the borough.

Through the scheme, businesses receive free advice and can apply for £1,000 towards purchasing or leasing a cargo bike or 50% off the cost of using a cargo bike service in a two-month period. Fulham-based ManMaid are recent beneficiaries of the scheme, using electric cargo bikes instead of delivery vans. Their founder Mungo Morgan said: ‘The biggest win with cargo bikes is the parking. Being able to park them right outside is a massive time saving. If we forget a screwdriver we can just pop outside and pick it up’ In London traffic, the fact that cargo bikes can use cycle and bus lanes is also a great advantage: ‘With the heavy traffic and the congestion, during rush hour, we’re ten times quicker than a van would be.’ Hammersmith & Fulham have also launched a shared electric van service for local small and medium businesses, with four vehicles available for use across the borough. The vans are situated in designated spots and businesses who have signed up to the scheme simply use an app to book the time slot in which they’d like to use one. Whilst the e-cargo bike trials seem to be proving popular in London, another local authority is exploring a more

Local Authority

hi-tech route to reduce the number of delivery vehicles on the road, namely Leeds City Council who have rolled out Starship delivery robots. Launched in 2014 by Skype co-founders, Ahti Heinla and Janus Friis, these technologies rely on a mixture of cameras, GPS, and sensors to help them deliver goods such as groceries, food takeaways and packages directly to people’s homes. Councillor Helen Hayden, Leeds City Council’s executive member for sustainable development and infrastructure said: ‘Despite the government’s recent relaxation on climate change rules, our local authority is more dedicated than ever to becoming net-zero by 2030. One way we are going about this is through introducing Starship delivery robots into different neighbourhoods in the city to ensure less people are using their cars to go to the shops or collect takeaways. ‘We first launched the Starship robot trial in November 2022 in Adel and Tinshill, but after 76% of residents were found to be in support of the idea, we decided to expand the scheme to Kippax and Swarcliffe in July 2023, where even more residents – a shocking 85% - are reported to also be in support of the programme.’ The research that is being conducted in the areas of Leeds where the robots

are active is through online surveys that are still open to the public and although the local authority haven’t stumbled upon any major problems yet, they have speculated that these machines may not be suitable for the city centre. ‘The robots provided by Starships can only really work on a maximum two-mile distance and are not currently running in the city centre, which, is where a lot of air pollution is created,’ said Helen. ‘To combat this, businesses have the opportunity to trial an electric cargo bike for up to three months for free as part of the council’s scheme. There are currently four different types of bikes that can be hired with a refundable £200 deposit.’ Leeds City Council is also in the early stages of developing other methods of providing sustainable deliveries in partnership with local businesses. Helen said: ‘We are in early discussion with numerous businesses and logistics providers to understand how we can support a move to more sustainable freight and last mile or urban delivery services. ‘These include using active modes, electric/zero emission vehicles, and other future technologies providers, route optimisation and working with regional and national stakeholders to encourage more freight interchanges to

A Starship delivery robot support the transfer from road to rail and waterborne modes.’ The above schemes illustrate that some local authorities recognise the problem and are addressing it, but many are not. Councillors spoken to as part of the LGA’s research acknowledged that local freight is not among their top transport decarbonisation priorities, with active travel, public transport and car-ownership reduction being more pressing policies. As the research says, ‘Local transport plans have prioritised the mobility of people over the mobility of goods.’ It’s probably time for change.


Combining the very best for a brighter, cleaner future! Whatever your air quality or transport decarbonisation plans, Marston Holdings can help at every step with market leading solutions incorporating: Hyperlocal AQ data monitoring and visualisation Design and planning of AQ interventions Technology solutions to support AQ schemes On street and digital enforcement services We provide unrivalled services for local authorities to achieve long-term air quality improvements. Speak to a member of the team to find out more. 40

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