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What is Community Air Quality Monitoring?

East End Quality of Life Initiative works with the Transport, Traffic & Parking Services of Sheffield City Council – who are responsible for measuring air pollution across the city – and with Sheffield Public Health to maintain the current programme of pollution measurement in partnership with local communities. 

WHO: British cities have been named and shamed by the World Health Organization for breaching safety levels for air pollution - follow links below to various press articles

Air quality deteriorating in many of the world’s cities

MP's plea over M1 traffic fumes Clive Betts in the Sheffield Telegraph 24 July 2014
When will people listen to our pollution fears? Neil Parry's letter in the Sheffield Telegraph, 17 July 2014
Fears over air pollution level read article in the Sheffield Star 15 July 2014

Sheffield could be hit by high levels of air pollution more often in future - brought about by toxic fumes mixing with desert dust blown on the wind, a city geography expert has warned.

Bad air day: Pollution in our cities now so bad healthy people are at risk of harm reports the Daily Mirror, 25 March 2014

Air pollution in some major UK cities is a national disgrace which is killing thousands of people prematurely, warn campaigners. Manchester, Birmingham, London and Liverpool had at least five days last year when the air was potentially harmful to healthy people.

Sheffield, which fared best overall, recorded six bad air days during the same year, compared to five in both Greater Manchester and Liverpool.

Steel city air rated the best with only 6 'bad air days'

But Neil Parry points out "There's no doubt about it - air quality is bad on arterial routes in Sheffield - not just in the east end but also in the likes of Brookhill ... a leafy, prosperous suburb" - read article from the Sheffield Star Friday 28th March 2014

Read the article which appeared in the Sheffield Star on 9th July 2012 - Pollution kills 500 each year
Read the article which appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph on 5th July 2012 - city breaches air pollution targets
Pollution health fears as sun shines on Sheffield

Neil Parry was interviewed on Rony Robinson's programme on Radio Sheffield, 28 March 2012 (available to listen again from Radio Sheffield for a limited period, approx 02.35 minutes into the programme).

"Pollution health fears as sun shines on city" article on 29 March 2012 in Sheffield Telegraph.

"Air pollution six times over limit" and "Trapped indoors by air pollution" articles on 2 April 2012 in Sheffield Star.

Interview about air pollution and health in Sheffield on BBC Look North, 9 March 2011

Traffic fumes may damage babies' breathing

Research at Sheffield Children's Hospital investigates links between air pollution and babies' respiratory problems, reported in the Sheffield Star, 3 March 2011

'Radical action' needed to curb city's air pollution

Sheffield Telegraph 3 March 2011

We're being choked

Air pollution blackspots in Sheffield on the front page of the Sheffield Star and in the Opinion column, 28 Feb 2011.

Time for action on city's Air Quality - letter in Sheffield Telegraph 8 April 2010

Community Action on Clean Air

Neil Parry watches Audrey Harris of Park Community Action changing a diffusion tube - just one of the many community groups across Sheffield taking action on clean air. Read the article from Your Sheffield, June 2009.

History of Community Air Quality Monitoring in Sheffield

Community Air Quality Monitoring of nitrogen dioxide in Sheffield started in 1998 in people’s backyards in Tinsley using diffusion tubes which are changed every month.  It began because local people were concerned about the effects of air pollution on their health and quality of life.  The community air quality monitoring network has been extended to cover other communities in the city, involving Community Partners such as local forums, environmental groups, neighbourhood watch groups, and secondary schools.

No monitoring in your area?

East End Quality of Life Initiative welcomes enquiries from community groups who would like to monitor their local air quality.  Contact Neil Parry on 0114 2859911. Download the flyer for more information.

Presentations from the London Air Annual Conference, 13 July 2017, are available here
During Sheffield's Off the Shelf literature festival (13-30 Oct 2014) a smaller version of Simon Armitage's "In Praise of Air" poem will be displayed in Sheffield Town Hall, removing the pollution from a bus or about 20 cars every day it is displayed. Drop into the Town Hall Foyer on 13 October 12noon-1pm to hear Professor Tony Ryan explain the process and ambition behind the project.
Visit Radio 4's More or Less programme (about 20 minutes in) to understand exactly what COMEAP's 29,000 deaths each year due to air pollution means.
Know your air for health website to encourage people to check air quality levels on line, a joint project by the Health & Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients Associations (EFA).
Air Cleansing Poem at Sheffield University

Environmental law firm ClientEarth has produced a guide to using EU laws on air quality - the Clean Air Handbook.

The cost of air pollution: Health impacts of road transport Air pollution has now become the biggest environmental cause of premature death, reports the OECD.

In most OECD countries, the death toll from heart and lung diseases caused by air pollution is much higher than the one from traffic accidents.

Air quality deteriorating in many of the world’s cities The Wortd Health Organization's evaluation based on 1600 cities across 91 countries.

Client Earth held an event on 1st May 2014 to discuss how a national network of low emission zones might be a central policy tool to clean up pollution from diesel vehicles and make the UK a world leader in sustainable urban transport.
This link will take you to the event page, which has links to presentations by
Frank Kelly, Alan Andrews, Elliot Treharne, Kare Press-Kristensen, Richard O'Sullivan, Matthew Noon, Sally Jones, Ogo Osammor, and Nigel Jenkins.
The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) and the ESCAPE project have launched a series of information leaflets aimed at providing individuals, health professionals and heart, lung and asthma patient groups with the latest science-based guidance on how air pollution affects health in Europe, and prevention tips. Download them from their website:

Air pollution and lung health – for patients with lung disease

Air pollution and health – for patients with cardiovascular disease

Air pollution and health – for individuals and families concerned about lung cancer

Air pollution and health – for parents of children with asthma and allergies

Air quality featured in a High Court appeal lost by developers against the government and North West Leicestershire District Council, as reported in Air Quality Bulletin, November 2013
Lancaster's big air pollution experiment

Particulate Matter in the air (or PM) can be very bad for our health. Staying away from traffic as much as possible is one way to keep our exposure levels down, but what about in our actual houses? More often than not, houses are on roads – and roads carry traffic. So is there a way that we can help reduce the concentration of PM that creeps into our houses? - read more

Citizen Science - local air quality; local action an article about community air quality monitoring by Neil Parry and Barbara Rimmington, published in Chemical Hazards and Poisons Report, September 2103
Sheffield urged to clean up its act and save lives Sheffield was urged this week to step up its efforts to tackle air pollution for the sake of residents' health and the local economy - article in the Sheffield Telegraph 21 February 2013
An evaluation of the Sheffield Air Quality Management Area scheme: Can it work and does Sheffield: City on the Move, really care? Barry Francis, a student at Sheffield Hallam University, has kindly made available his dissertation to a wider audience via our website. You can read the full report (80 pages) or the abstract here.
Suburb fumes over air pollution - read the article in the Sheffield Telegraph 6th September 2012 about the report from Broomhill's Air Quality Symposium
Listen to Radio 4's File on 4 about Diesel Pollution, broadcast 7 Aug 12 (Neil Parry's interview with Julian O'Halloran is about 24 minutes into the programme)
Air Pollution in Heeley and Meersbrook 30% worse than Health Protection Targets

Read Neil Parry's article in the Heeley Voice, June 2012

 Air Quality, Noise and Health subscribe to regular updates on research into the health effects of air quality and noise Subscribe to our newsletter

Air Quality, Noise and Health since March 2013, we have published monthly updates of research into the health impacts of air quality and noise. You can view past copies here:
Air Quality and Health literature published since 2006

Instead of updating the literature review on the health effects of air quality, we've started a Yahoo Group where you can access the articles where available to us (or abstracts). The articles (or abstracts) are stored as files, and can be downloaded. A summary of the articles and abstracts available can be found in the searchable database. Anyone is welcome to join this group, and you will receive a notification when any new information is posted.

Click to join eeqol

Click to join eeqol

Healthy Air in Sheffield Conference Friday 2nd December 2011

Comments received:

Thank you for an excellent morning, I found it extremely interesting and illuminating, it certainly stimulated a great deal of valuable discussion during the coffee and lunch breaks. Jenny Allen, S11 resident

Well done for the coverage but especially for organising the conference it was excellent. Sylvia Hamilton, Darnall Forum

The conference was really great, congratulations for sorting it all out. David Bocking, Pedal Ready

I really enjoyed the conference. The speakers were all of exceptionally high quality. I will be briefing my group shortly and planning our next steps. Catriona Mulligan, Hexham

Healthy Air in Sheffield Conference Friday 2nd December 2011

Presentations available to download here, from

Lewis Merdler's presentation included EPUK's film supporting Healthy Air Campaign Watch the film now

Download Conference Summary.

Carterknowle and Millhouses Community Group celebrate rejection of supermarket expansion plans

They hope the Sainsbury verdict will have a knock on effect on the nearby Tesco planning application. Read the articles from Sheffield Star 9 August 2011 and  Sheffield Telegraph 11 August 2011, or download the Planning Inspector's full report.

Why do local communities participate ?

· Community organisations are well placed to know the locations in their neighbourhoods where residents are concerned about air pollution.

· This brings the issue of  air pollution down to the local level.

· It empowers local communities to better articulate their concerns about poor air quality, traffic and its effects on the community’s health and quality of life.

Carter Knowle & Millhouses Community Group Campaign against local supermarket

Local concerns about poor air quality and its effects on health have led to a vigorous campaign against the development of a supermarket in the area. Articles appeared in the Sheffield Telegraph on 3 Feb 2011, and the Yorkshire Post on 7 Feb.

What do community organisations do each month?

East End Quality of Life Initiative supports groups to get the local pollution monitoring set up.  Every month on a set day decided by the community volunteers, they change the diffusion tubes.  The tube details (batch number, tube number, site, date and time of change over) are written on a log sheet and sent with the exposed tubes to the laboratory for analysis.  Before the set date in the next month unexposed tubes are sent to each group.  This process takes no more than one hour per month.  The results are sent to groups every month, usually in the form of a chart, or the full dataset if required. 

What does it cost?

Sheffield’s Environmental Strategy Service has obtained funding from DEFRA to pay for the diffusion tubes analysis since 2003, and some of Sheffield City Council’s Area Panels have contributed to help  community organisations with the monitoring.

If there's no information for the area you're interested in, try these links:

Air quality throughout Sheffield can be viewed on Sheffield City Council's Air Map, which brings together data from all the various monitoring sites in the city.

Current and historical air quality data recorded by Sheffield City Council and Defra can be viewed for Firshill, Orphanage Road (groundhog1), Tinsley Infants School (groundhog2), Lowfield Junior and Infant School (groundhog3), Wicker (groundhog4), Sheaf Square, opposite railway station (groundhog5), City Centre - Charter Square, and Tinsley - Ingfield Avenue.

Download graphs for 2017 AbbeydaleAbbeydale Road Corridor, Attercliffe, Broomhill (SCC), Carterknowle, Chesterfield Road, City Centre A, B & C, Crookes and Broomhill, Crosspool, Darnall, Deepcar, Ecclesall, Firvale, GreenhillHillsborough/Malin Bridge, Hoyland Common and Birdwell, Kelham Island, Local Sustainable Transport Fund (Lower Don Valley), Manor & Castle, Miscellaneous, Nether Edge, Park Hill Roundabout/Wicker, Penistone Road, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Station, Sheffield University, St Mary's, Tinsley (Forum), Tinsley (SCC), Transport Interchanges and Taxi Ranks, Walkley, Weston Park, Woodseats and  Bristol.
Download graphs for Adjusted Annual Averages AbbeydaleAbbeydale Road Corridor, Attercliffe, Broomhill (SCC), Carterknowle, Chesterfield Road, City Centre A, B & C, Crookes and Broomhill, Crosspool, Darnall, Deepcar, Ecclesall, Firvale, GreenhillHillsborough/Malin Bridge, Hoyland Common, Kelham Island, Local Sustainable Transport Fund (Lower Don Valley), Manor & Castle, Miscellaneous, Nether Edge, Park Hill Roundabout/Wicker, Penistone Road, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield Station, Sheffield University, St Mary's, Tinsley (Forum), Tinsley (SCC), Transport Interchanges and Taxi Ranks, Walkley, Weston Park, Woodseats and  Bristol.
If you require data for the current year, please contact Barbara or Neil (please note, results will be approx 3 months behind current month to allow time for analysis of diffusion tubes)
For adjusted annual averages and historical air quality data, please visit our archive

The following links will take you directly to specific pages: Abbey Lane School, Abbeydale GrangeAbbeydaleAbbeydale Road Corridor, Attercliffe, Breathe Easy Group, Brinsworth/Catcliffe, Broomhall, Broomhill Forum, Broomhill (SCC), Brunswick School, Burngreave, Carterknowle, Chapeltown, Chesterfield Road, City Centre, Crookes, Crosspool, Darnall, Deepcar, Ecclesall, Ecclesfield, Firvale, Foxhill, Greenhill Handsworth, HeeleyHillsborough/Malin Bridge, Hoyland Common, Hunters Bar School, Kelham Island, King Ecgbert School, Local Sustainable Transport Fund (Lower Don Valley), Local Transport Plan S10 Corridor, M1 Highways Agency, Manor & Castle, Meadow, Melrose Burngreave, Miscellaneous, Nether Edge, Park, Penistone Road, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield University, St Mary's, Tinsley (Forum), Tinsley (SCC), Transport Interchanges and Taxi Ranks, Walkley, Woodseats and  Bristol.