A new Oxfordshire air quality website launched on 18 September, offering air quality guidance and resources covering the county.
The website (www.oxonair.uk) aims to integrate all relevant air quality-related information from all district councils in Oxfordshire under one single platform. It has been created in a partnership between Oxford City, Cherwell, West Oxfordshire, South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse, and Oxfordshire County Council.
The launch of the joint website demonstrates each Council’s commitment to tackling air pollution across the county, said the announcement.
In March 2021, Oxford City Council was awarded £162,500 to develop an air quality community website to help raise awareness of air pollution across Oxfordshire. The platform replaces https://oxfordshire.air-quality.info/, and includes several new features, including:
• Air pollution forecasts up to five days in advance
• Air pollution alerts for Oxfordshire
• Air quality footprint calculator
• Air quality pledges for individuals
• Information on individual council air quality projects across the county
The website also continues to feature a map and real-time readings of monitoring stations across Oxfordshire including NO2, PM2.5 and PM10, as well as general advice on air quality, why it is important, and how it is monitored across the county. The new website was created by all Oxfordshire Councils in partnership with global strategic environmental and engineering consulting company Ricardo, and Oxfordshire residents were encouraged to share their views on what features they would like to include on the website.
It has been funded through a £162,000 grant from the UK Government’s Air Quality Grant after a successful bid by Oxford City Council.
Dangers of air pollution
Air pollution means chemicals or particles in the air that can harm the health of humans, animals, plants, and can damage buildings. The main pollutants of concern to scientists and health experts are particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) ozone, and nitrogen dioxide. Air pollution is believed to particularly impact the most vulnerable members of society, such as those from minority backgrounds, the young, old and those experiencing health issues. Across Oxfordshire in 2021, it was estimated that air pollution’s effect on mortality was equivalent to 320 early deaths.
Councillor Anna Railton, Cabinet Member for Zero Carbon Oxford and Climate Justice, said: “We all know that air pollution is a problem that affects everyone, but it is especially harmful to the most vulnerable people in our society. The new Oxfordshire air quality website provides even more information and guidance on air pollution, and for the first timeresidents will be able to sign up for alerts so they can stay up to date on pollution forecasts. I hope that this website will be a useful tool for anyone interested in air quality across the county.”
Councillor Michael O’Connor, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Inequalities, said: “There is no safe level of air pollution according to the World Health Organisation. It damages our health at any level and its effects are often lethal: up to 40,000 deaths are attributable to air pollution in the UK every year.
Cllr Sue Cooper, South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “The new website is a useful and welcome resource that everyone in Oxfordshire can use to see clearly where the highest risk of air pollution is. The next step will be to look at ways to tackle it.”