Is Current Air Quality Data Helping The Public To Make Informed Decisions?

23 March 2021

This event is hosted by Air-Pot. You can visit the official event page here.

Register here!

The background to the workshop

Air-PoT workshops come at a time when the toxic air has made the spread of Covid 19 worse and also toxic air quality will continue to harm the quality of life of thousands of Covid 19 survivors with respiratory problems. 

The Pre-Covid era already witnessed alarming health and death figures associated with toxic air pollution. There is an urgency both to reduce air pollution and also provide quality data solutions to sufferers to improve their quality of life. 

Some facts about toxic air quality in the UK;

  • Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, with between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure. []
  • Every year £5.3 billion in NHS budget [Public Health England 2020]
  • 9 out of 10 people breathe air that exceeds WHO guideline limits []
  • Add to this the Covid-19 era where thousands who have suffered from Covid 19 have fortunately survived and are left with respiratory problems which are made worse by air pollution.

The problem

Public (Defra plus LA) and private sector air sensor operators have installed thousands of air quality sensors that monitor air pollution. All of these sensors measure the various type of air pollutants and collect pollution data. These sensors are not always well maintained or indeed accurate. The data quality may vary enormously, especially if the air sensors are not maintained or calibrated regularly. Poor quality data means the information given to sufferers has little credible value and therefore may not improve their quality of life.

The implementation of government regulations on the reduction of air pollution moving toward net-zero carbon emissions have to a degree resulted in a reduction in the air pollution levels for certain particulate matter over the past decade. Nevertheless, the available data is not granular enough to let sufferers understand pollution levels in their local areas, or exercise routes, or a place to visit. instead, it is usually town or city-wide data that is available and this only provides information that cannot really be used to guide their actions on a day-to-day basis or plan future activity. Sufferers are demanding a solution that they can use to help them improve their quality of life, by accessing data that is granular enough to let them understand pollution levels in their local areas, or exercise routes, or a place to visit. 

Purpose of this workshop

  • Exploration of the impact of low-cost sensors and indoor sensors on the overall air pollution monitoring landscape 
  • Challenges in ensuring accuracy and proper functioning of the installed base of air quality monitoring sites/sensors 
  • Challenges in bringing increased private sector participation in the air quality monitoring 
  • Data currently available is on a city-wide basis and not granular enough to allow for more localized air quality information to help sufferers make informed decisions. How can this be changed?

The experts at the workshop will discuss what more can be done to work together to standardize air pollution data and explore solutions to the challenges presented.

Finally, Air-Pot will share an example of what can be done to support sufferers and what more needs to be done by the government and industry to improve the quality and granularity of data to ensure this data is readily available to help sufferers.

Who is the workshop aimed at?

The workshop participation is aimed at all those that set the strategy and policy around Air Quality for the UK, manufacturers/users/owners of indoor or outdoor air quality sensors, anyone who receives AQ data, processes the AQ data and disseminates that data for private and public use.

These include:

  • Public Air Quality Sensor Providers
  • Private Air Quality Sensor Providers
  • Data Management Centres
  • University Air Quality Data Researchers 
  • Local Authorities
  • Air Sensor Instrument Manufacturers
  • Air Quality Observatory 
  • Providers of AQI to the public
  • Public Health
  • Those who wish to see better quality data that is readily available free for public users.
  • People who are seriously concerned about Air Quality in the UK
  • People who see problems/limits/barriers in the current approach/policy/roadmap in the air pollution landscape in the UK and have ideas on what needs to change


Mohammad Nazir OBE – Air-PoT Head-Strategy and Innovation Exploitation, and Chairman of Smartella Ltd

Mohammad Nazir is currently Chairman of Smartella Ltd, an EdTech online technology platform. He is a well-known entrepreneur who has set up as well as supported the commercialisation of many businesses in the digital technology sector as well as numerous other sectors. For over 20 years he served on regional and national strategy boards in supporting business start-ups, Sme support strategy, innovation, incubation, international trade, health and economy to name a few. He is also well known for his tireless work in diversity and inclusion.

Noel Nelson – Senior Manager within the Atmospheric Dispersion and Air Quality Group at the Met Office

Noel Nelson manages a small research team focussing on the goals of the Strategic Priority Funded Clean Air Programme which the Met Office leads. Noel has worked for the Met Office for over twenty years, during which time he has developed experience in atmospheric dispersion modelling, emergency responses to atmospheric hazards, weather and health relationships, atmospheric transmission of animal diseases and climate policy input. Noel spent some years working on secondment to Defra’s Air Quality team assisting in the development of air quality policy, as well as working with the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution to develop several Command Reports. He is a member of the Institution of Environmental Science (Chairing this Institution for a period) and is also a member of the Institute for Air Quality Management.

Alan Carr – Senior Sustainability Adviser, Sustainability West Midlands

Alan Carr is Senior Sustainability Adviser at Sustainability West Midlands, the sustainability champion for the West Midlands. SWM’s Vision is to guide the region becoming a leader in contributing to the national target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 whilst addressing health inequality and driving inclusive growth through monitoring its 2030 Roadmap. Alan’s role includes both business development and project management and delivery.

Dr Hafiz Alaka – Air-PoT Head of Digital Innovation, and Director of the Big Data Technologies and Innovation University of Hertfordshire

Leads and takes part in collaborative research with reputable industry partners. He has been involved in over eight funded research projects worth over six million pounds. Current projects include ‘Emission reduction (worth £500,000) with Earthsense Limited’ and ‘AutoBIM (worth £900,000) with Balfour Beatty’, among three others. Past projects include deconstruction and recovery information modelling, and Big Data Analytics for construction waste reduction, among others. Other notable partners include AHR Architects, White Frog Publishing, Smallfry, and counting.

The Programme:

09:30 – 09:40 Chairman: Opening Remarks

09:40 – 10:00 Met Office: Clean Air Programme – An Overview’

10:00 – 10:20 Sustainability West Midlands: A Regional Strategy in action- does the current data available support SWM roadmap targets for a better environment for the citizens of the region?

10:20 – 10:40 Air-Pot: The need for the granularity of data to assist sufferers in making informed decisions 

10:40 – 11:05 All: Break out sessions 

11:05 – 11:15 All: Break out sessions summary

11:15 – 11:20 Chairman: Closing Remarks