Bobbies join pollution fight

March 3, 1995

Environment experts in universities have joined forces with authorities in London to help reduce pollution and health risks associated with road traffic in the City, writes Kam Patel.

The three-year project is scheduled for launch in April and is being spearheaded by the Corporation of London. The experience and results gained will provide a basis for action to control pollution in London and major cities throughout the European Community, the corporation says.

The initiative, called Tramp, was highlighted last week by Roger Watson, the corporation's director of environmental health and consumer protection, at a City University symposium. Project collaborators include Paul Elliott of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, David Briggs of the University of Huddersfield's Institute of Environment and Policy Analysis and Margaret Bell of the University of Nottingham's transport research group.

Mr Watson said features of the initiative include the innovative use of monitoring devices linked to road signals to "smooth out" traffic flow to help prevent pollution build-up. In contrast to conventional monitoring methods, Tramp will aim to measure pollution at street level and correlate this with health symptoms of a controlled group of people working within the area.

This will include 30 children who live and attend a primary school within the City and exhibit asthmatic symptoms. The aim is to track their exposure to pollutants round the clock by measuring exposure at school and estimating exposure outside school.

Carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and particulate matter are among the pollutants that will be measured. Mr Watson says these will be correlated with traffic measurements and climate data to generate a predictive model for roadside emission over time.

The pollutants will be measured using continuous monitors sited on traffic light signals and linked by telephone line to a control centre. There will also be transportable monitors with a data logging facility and mobile monitors attached to police horse saddles and inside police vehicles.

Predicted pollution levels will be checked against personal exposure, measured by disposable badge monitors carried by City of London police.

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