Air quality data

Real-time air quality data from the Kent Road sensor during April 2019

The University of Southampton team has now installed 8 sensor boxes for the Breathing Spaces project, in and around St Denys. Near real-time information on local air quality in St Denys can be found here. (The data currently available is from 4th April 2019. We are working on integrating the entire dataset).

Locations of the 8 Breathing Spaces sensors in St Denys

DISCLAIMER: The data collected by the Breathing Spaces sensor boxes has not been recorded using legally validated reference equipment and should therefore be treated with caution. In other words, please don’t place too much emphasis on the numbers presented in the graphs as we cannot guarantee that a particular legal limit or air quality threshold has been exceeded. If you’re interested in finding out more about the methods used, the University of Southampton team has recently published a paper in Nature.

However, as you can see by the graph below, the general trends match the data provided by the Government automatic monitoring station (AURN) in the city centre.

OCTOBER UPDATE: Since July our sensors have been under-reporting i.e. producing lower readings than the AURN, whilst still following the same trends. See graph below. We are investigating why this might be.


Analysis & mapping

We have also carried out some analysis of the data – please click here for our key findings so far.

We are also in the process of developing an air quality map for Southampton. This provides links to data from the Breathing Spaces sensors and other sources such as Defra monitoring stations and Southampton City Council diffusion tubes (Nitrogen Dioxide). The map also includes residents’ perceptions of air quality, in particular in relation to health and ideas for change. For example, some people report having to use stronger asthma medication or having to make journeys at times when the roads aren’t so congested.


Air quality & health

The Breathing Spaces sensor boxes monitor particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), temperature and humidity. Whilst the focus of the recent Clean Air Zone consultation in Southampton was roadside Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), particulate matter is an equally important part of the discussion around clean air.

Image: British Lung Foundation

Public Health England has produced an excellent report on the impact of air pollution across a person’s lifetime. It includes infographics such as those reproduced below.


The graphs & map on this page were produced by Robin Wilson. The real-time data is produced in conjunction with Solent University.

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