The impact of car fumes on air pollution in Sheffield is being examined in a major new study.
The project is running into next year with the intention of gathering more information about the effect of traffic pollution on people’s health.
It follows research claiming air pollution is causing up to 500 premature deaths per year in Sheffield and costing an £160 million a year to in deal with the health problems it causes.
The project is being organised by the University of Sheffield and the European Space Agency, with work being carried out by Yorkshire-based The Floow, which will fit special black boxes to cars that will establish precisely where in the city emissions are being produced.
The project announcement comes just weeks after the Government was ordered by the UK’s Supreme Court to take immediate action on air pollution to keep to its obligation under European law on pollution limits.
Sheffield is missing EU air quality targets and is ‘not likely’ to be below legal limits until 2020 at the earliest.
It is hoped the new research will assist with the development of future policies to tackle pollution, with the ESA making recommendations to Government on traffic management schemes.
Sam Chapman, co-founder of The Floow, said: “This is a fascinating test project that will provide actionable insight into the pollution that is generated in our region, as a result of vehicle use and driver behaviour.
“We know that the majority of harmful air pollution is as a result of transport, and so by capturing the data we will be in a position to establishing exactly where emissions are produced using key factors such as vehicle acceleration, stationary periods and stop times.
“Currently in Sheffield air pollution is measured through only a limited number of good air quality sensors, each costing the taxpayer tens of thousands of pounds and only providing a limited picture of pollution.”
He said the telematics technology being used in the research is more cost-effective and does not require the same level of monitoring as sensors.
Dr Stuart Wrigley, research fellow at the University of Sheffield, said the work should result in a ‘much more complete picture of local air pollution’ and ‘provide valuable insights for local traffic management to address air pollution’.