THIS humble shed could hold the key to fighting ultra fine deadly pollution particles.
The Argus was among a small select group of media invited to look round the University of Brighton‘s ground-breaking air-pollution monitoring station at their Falmer campus yesterday.
The state-of-the-art station will be used to learn about the ultra-fine particles in the Sussex air whose health impacts are even more damaging than the recognised PM10 and PM2.5 particulates which current legislation protects us from.
The station will be used to find out bout more ultra fine particles affecting not just victim’s respiratory systems but also damaging nervous systems, the brain and causing cancers.
The particles, for which there are currently no “safe” legislated limits, are a particular threat to the vulnerable including children, the elderly and those with respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Data released this week has shown that the scientific instruments at the monitoring station have successfully detected the ultra-fine particles at a trial run in London last summer.
Lead investigator Dr Kirsty Smallbone said the £750,000 research project, funded by the EU Interreg fund and the University of Brighton, needs to be running for a year to draw any meaningful data from it.
As well as attempting to reduce transport levels causing the pollution, University of Brighton researchers said public bodies may also want to consider air condition filters on schools and hospitals in high pollution areas to capture some of the harmful pollutants.
Researchers said the ultra-fine particles were like a pinhead compared to a PM10 “football”, which are already the fraction of a human hair, which has made them difficult traditionally to detect.
Principal researcher Dr Kevin Wyche said a lot more work was needed but the research could help to shape future legislation in finding safe levels for these ultra-fine particles as the EU currently sets its members safe limits for PM10 and even reshape policy on what is considered safe traffic levels in cities and towns.
Dr Smallbone said: “Air pollution is important and we need to take it more seriously.
“I would like to see more infrastructure [in Brighton] to encourage safe cycling, more affordable public transport and more joined up thinking.”
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and former Brighton and Hove City Councillor, said: “It’S clear that currently we are not doing enough on air pollution, that is why the British Government has been taken to the Supreme Court and the European Court for failing to conform to the European air quality standards.
“All over the UK, local authorities need to rise to the challenge that air pollution represents and do whatever it takes to improve people’s health and save lives.
“Because of cross-border challenges such as air pollution, we need cross-border solutions and to me that justifies the position and the need to stay in Europe.”