ClearfLo: Clean Air for London

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry


Poor air quality, particularly in urban areas, has a demonstrable effect on human health, but the processes responsible for producing the main pollutants, namely particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and heat are not well understood and are poorly predicted. The ambition of ClearfLo is to provide integrated measurements of the meteorology, composition and particulate loading of London's urban atmosphere, made at street level and at elevated sites, complemented by modelling, to improve predictive capability for air quality. This ambition will be addressed by establishing new measurement capabilities in London, which will be used for long-term measurements and intensive observation periods, and by analysis and modelling of the measurements to establish key processes.


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Description Direct measurements of the flux of NOx based at the BT tower have shown that there is a significant underestimation in the estimated NOx in emission inventories. This provides further evidence that the road traffic source of NOx in estimates is not well described.

Measurements of nitrous acid (HONO) in London, along with a range of its sources and sinks, have shown a missing HONO source that cannot be described with chemistry in the literature. this missing HONO is important as it represents a significant missing atmospheric oxidant, which is important in the description of ozone formation.
Exploitation Route The NOx flux measurements can potentially be used to help improve emissions inventories, which are key in predicting current and future air quality.
Sectors Environment

Description The research has added to the body of knowledge that has put air quality high up on the government agenda. The work on emissions from diesel vehicles (VOCs and NOx) in particular has helped show the effects of the increase in the diesel fleet over the past 10 years on air quality in London.
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Environment
Impact Types Policy & public services

Description Media interest (London air pollution) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact BBC news (TV and online) article on 8th August 2012 describing the research project and our aims to improve knowledge of air pollution in London and the wider UK.

Emails requested further information on the research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012