Embracing the suck


Lewisham Council is to install the first Roadvent, the novel suction technology developed by UK firm Pollution Solution, making use of £132,532 in funding received from Round 4 of the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

The Council said it would match this amount to ensure the successful delivery of the project.
A Roadvent will be introduced on a road near a school, although the specific location has not been determined yet, “but we aim to have it in place by Autumn”, said a statement.

“The objective is to decrease air pollution and improve the health and well-being of school children and parents during their commute.”

Roadvents consist of two parallel linear slot drains that are installed into the road and connected to a roadside air cabinet which houses a fan and various layers of filtration.

Independent testing has demonstrated that Roadvents can reduce human exposure to road based air pollution by up to 91%. It does this by filtering and diluting road based emissions from exhausts, brakes, tyres and road wear.

In September 2023, a study led by Swansea University’s Professor Paul Lewis appeared to rank Roadvent technology as preferable to several other approaches, when it comes to reducing nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations to below UK regulatory standards.

It modelled various strategies for cutting toxic nitrogen dioxide, with Roadvent coming out on top.

For example, diverting HGVs and buses away from the area reduced emissions to 31µg/m3 but would likely cause an increase in other areas. A ‘no-idling’ scheme alone was predicted to be insufficient in achieving compliance with regulatory requirements.

The Mayor’s Air Quality Fund has allocated £27 million in funding over 10 years, supplemented by £20 million in funding and resources from boroughs and partners.