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Air quality monitoring

Air quality in South Cambridgeshire

As a rural district the air quality is generally good in South Cambridgeshire, with both short- and long-term pollution levels below the national objectives.

We run a monitoring network including diffusion tubes, 3 continuous monitoring stations and three air quality sensors.

To find real time data about these continuous sites please read the air quality and monitoring sites details.

Annual reports are available on the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) page.

Zephyrs short term monitoring 

Zephyr air quality sensors are used for short term air quality studies. These instruments are compact and relatively lightweight that measure pollutants in real-time, including the main pollutants nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. They are usually powered by a solar panel in a fixed location, but can also be used as mobile monitors.

Live data from these sensors, along with a map of the locations, can be viewed on our Public Air Quality Portal.

A Zephyr air quality monitor and solar panel attached to a lamppost next to a road with traffic including a tractor

The first pilot studies carried out were looking into air quality around schools. The major reason for investigating air quality around primary schools is that children are amongst the most vulnerable to the effects of air pollution traffic.

The completed reports are available below. 

How to improve air quality locally

There are a number of actions we can all take to improve air quality in our district, these include:

  • Minimise car use wherever possible
  • Avoid using your car for short trips (under 2 miles) - short trips are very polluting as modern engines need to reach a very high temperature to work efficiently; on short trips it won’t reach that temperature
  • For short journeys, try cycling or walking more often – this helps you stay healthy and saves you money in fuel costs
  • For longer journeys, consider public transport options
  • Switch it off – don’t leave your car engine idling if you are stationary, for example waiting to pick someone up, in a traffic jam or waiting at level crossings
  • When driving, use techniques that help you use less fuel, like driving more slowly and smoothly - and switching your engine off when stationary, this will not only reduce your emissions of air pollution but will save fuel and therefore money, too
  • Consider making your next vehicle an electric vehicle
  • Join a car club, or car-share regularly
  • Consider working at home where possible (the first lockdown showed widespread improvements in air quality, as the amount that people travelled reduced)
  • Use less energy at home – consider a smart meter to monitor usage
  • Opt for ‘green energy’ tariffs where available or switch to renewable sources of heating or power
  • Reduce the use of solid fuel stoves and open fires – domestic burning is now the single biggest source of particulate matter pollution in the UK (greater than traffic and industry). If you are burning wood or coal, ensure any fuel used meets the new standards of moisture content and emissions.

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