AQMesh pods monitor air quality impact of new Oxford shopping centre

Oxford City Council has been operating two AQMesh pods to monitor the impact of the new Westgate centre on local air quality.

Westgate Oxford is a brand new £440m shopping centre comprised of retail outlets, restaurants and a cinema. Developed as a replacement for the old shopping centre that was demolished in 2016, Westgate opened in October 2017, and it has been estimated that it will attract 15m visitors every year.

The AQMesh pods were purchased by the Westgate developer under a Section 106 agreement to monitor levels of NO, NO2 and O3.

Oxford City Council’s Air Quality officer, Pedro Abreu, has been using the pods to supplement information available from other sources. AQMesh pods are battery-powered, which means they can be mounted at exactly the point where monitoring is required, and easily moved to a new monitoring location when necessary. In order to check that performance of the pods, Pedro carried out co-location comparisons with a reference station and is very satisfied with the correlation data. His comments echo those of Professor Rod Jones from the University of Cambridge, who led a project using AQMesh pods across Cambridge to highlight air quality variability across the city. “Because we know that all the pods read the same and because we have a comparison between one pod and a reference instrument, we can say that all pods are working equivalently across the city. What we are seeing is correspondences in excess of 0.7, 0.8, against reference – and that is very good for something straight out of the box,” commented Professor Jones