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Air Quality Monitoring Pilot Study

What is it about?

The Air Quality Monitoring Project is a pilot study to test the concept of localised air pollution monitoring. It forms part of the Swansea Bay City Deal project called ‘Supporting Innovation and Low Carbon Growth’, led by NPT Council. It is delivered as part of the council’s Decarbonisation and Renewable Energy (DARE) Strategy.

The aim of the pilot study is to achieve a better understanding of air quality on a local level by using digital technology.

Better data means we can:

  • more effectively target interventions,
  • identify particular pollution hotspots and sources that were previously hidden,
  • gain a better understanding of the impact of particular policies; crucial to designing effective strategies for managing air pollution.

This pilot project will see 70 digital sensors attached to lampposts in some residential areas in Port Talbot.

Where will the sensors be

Sensors will be located in:

  • Margam
  • Taibach
  • Aberavon
  • Sandfields
  • Baglan Energy Park

The area will act as a test bed for the technology and will provide real time data on how air quality varies between different neighbourhoods.

We are collaborating with a local company Vortex IoT who have developed this innovative technology. Vortex IoT will provide the sensors, wireless network and maintenance support. It is the first project of this kind in Wales

Why are we doing it?

We know when air quality is poor it is unhealthy, especially for people who are sensitive to it such as children, older adults or people with respiratory illnesses.

Air quality isn’t the same everywhere and pollution can build up in isolated pockets. Local sources, for example industry or a busy road and even rail infrastructure can affect air quality.

Different areas have different levels of air quality at different times so it is important for us to measure, monitor and analyse what is happening and where. That way we can identify trouble spots and ensure that we are taking the right steps to ensure we all enjoy the cleanest air possible.

Air quality monitoring has been undertaken in Neath Port Talbot for many years. Advances in digital technology means that we can now carry out local monitoring providing granular data in real time about potential pollution sources which up until now have mostly been invisible.

Who will benefit and how?

The localised approach to air quality monitoring will provide the project with a verified source of real time air quality data that can be linked to events within that community, for example traffic flows, industrial processes etc.

Better measurement means the council can more effectively target interventions, identify any pollution hotspots and pollution sources that were previously hidden and help it improve air quality and health outcomes.

Who is responsible?

The Air Quality Monitoring Project will be subject to a governance structure, which includes a Project Board and associated City Deal Governance.

The Air Quality Monitoring Project will be managed on a day-to-day basis by the air quality team within the council’s Environmental Health team to ensure synergy with existing air quality programmes of work.