Credit - Julie-Anne Hogbin, EDF Europe

What is Breathe London?

Breathe London combines state-of-the-art technology with new data analytics to better understand Londoners’ exposure to air pollution. Measuring harmful pollution at thousands of locations informs data-driven solutions to clean up our dirty air and foster healthier, stronger communities.

With cutting-edge sensor technology and research, Breathe London’s three complementary projects will help us understand what’s happening at the ground-level where people live, work and play.

  1. Breathe London installed a network of 100 state-of-the-art sensor pods on lamp posts and buildings throughout the city, continuously transmitting air quality measurements.
  2. Specially equipped Google Street View cars used mobile sensors to measure air pollution on a variety of London roadways, taking readings approximately every second in representative areas of the city.
  3. In a linked study funded by the Greater London Authority, King’s College London used wearable sensors that allowed schoolchildren and teachers to monitor air quality during their journey to and from school.

High-resolution sensing technologies promise to make air pollution visible and measurable at an unprecedented scale and scope—providing a more comprehensive picture of air pollution across London.

Real-time maps

The Breathe London map shows real-time data, giving Londoners continuously updated information on the air pollution they’re breathing as they move around the city. By clicking on any single pod, you can view current NO₂ and PM₂.₅ levels at that location, as well as historical data and the overall average.

Hyperlocal data, gathered over time, can help identify pollution ‘hotspots’ that the existing network of fixed monitors cannot currently capture.

Image via Flickr - erase

Our goal

Air pollution is a huge challenge for London, and millions of Londoners face health threats every day because of air pollution. London’s toxic air has an economic cost of £3.7 billion every year, due to the health impact of pollutants like PM₂.₅ and NO₂ leading to lost years of life, hospital admissions and deaths.

By visualising the existing, invisible threat – and documenting the benefits of policy interventions – more and better data can lead to more effective policies and, ultimately, healthier air.

Breathe London is a multi-partner project, with initial funding from C40 cities and The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and continued funding from The Clean Air Fund, managed by Environmental Defense Fund Europe, a registered charity (charity number 1164661).