Pollution levels in Islington are up to three times the EU limit, parents’ air testing suggests

PUBLISHED: 16:10 25 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:16 25 May 2017

Islington Greens' 'citizen science' project

Islington Greens' 'citizen science' project


The results are in after Islington Greens and Tufnell Park Parents unleashed “citizen science” to measure air pollution levels across the borough.

Cllr Caroline Russell and Rod Gonggrijp from Tufnell Park Parents install a diffusion tubeCllr Caroline Russell and Rod Gonggrijp from Tufnell Park Parents install a diffusion tube

And according to the environmental campaigners, the latest results suggest air in the borough is worse than ever “and in clear breach of EU standards”, with one area nearly three times the EU maximum level.

Tufnell Park Parents have been conducting “citizen science” projects to monitor pollution levels since 2012. The tests involve people installing diffusion tubes in their areas to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) content.

At a public meeting in February, Islington Greens invited people to cast the net wider and conduct their own experiments right across the borough. In response, 100 diffusion tubes were installed in Islington, from Hillrise to Bunhill.

The legal limit for NO2 is 40ug per cubic metre. Yet out of 100 areas tested, 83 missed the “safe” target. Pentonville Road was the worst culprit, with 118 ug/m3 of NO2, which violates the law by 295 per cent.

Tufnell Park Parents after installing a diffusion tube in Tufnell Park RoadTufnell Park Parents after installing a diffusion tube in Tufnell Park Road

Camden Road, York Way, Tufnell Park Road, Holloway Road and Highbury Barn were the next worst performers respectively, ranging from 166pc over the target in Highbury Barn to 251pc along the Camden Road.

Islington Council has previously questioned the “citizen science” projects, saying their results are “limited” in scope while the town hall carries out continuous monitoring as part of its “detailed air quality strategy”.

The town hall’s director of public protection, Jan Hart, said: “We’re all affected by the quality of air we breathe and we can’t tackle air pollution alone.

“Islington was one of the first councils in the country to adopt the idling vehicle legislation and we’ve worked with schools to use volunteers as peers to challenge drivers of idling vehicles.

“We undertake our own continuous air quality monitoring, across Islington, so we know our worst areas, whereas these ‘citizen science’ results are for a limited period.

“We’ve a clear strategy for improving air quality in the borough and we’re working with other organisations, across London, to implement it.”

Frances Bradley, who helped with the parents’ air monitoring project, said: “I participated because having brought up a family in Zone 2, air pollution is an issue of great concern to me.

“I would like to grow vegetables in my garden but the fear of ingesting high levels of toxic pollutants outweighs the anticipated pleasures of fresh produce.”

Rod Gonggrijp of Tufnell Park Parents said: “We are taking matters into our own hands because they did not feel that the growing concern around air pollution was being taken seriously enough by the national government and local authorities.

“Citizen science projects such as these are leading the way in community efforts to combat air pollution but action must be taken at national and local levels.

“There was a lot of interest in the project across the area and more than 20 people, including several children, participated.”

Related articles


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Yesterday, 14:00

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Fri, 20:00

Elderly people fought to save a Highbury day centre from closure at a heated full council meeting last night, during which the mayor of Islington told the borough’s housing boss to “shut up”.

Fri, 17:13

Cops have made two arrests in connection with the fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old man in Tufnell Park on Tuesday.

Fri, 15:21

A cyclist who was hit by a car in St John Street on Wednesday morning has died, police have confirmed.

Fri, 14:45

Open House London takes place this weekend and an iconic building in Holloway built as a haven for torture survivors is throwing open its doors.

Fri, 10:08

An architect has slammed “petty” Islington planners who have again told him to demolish his multi-award winning block in Clerkenwell.

Fri, 08:27

Sheltered housing tenants in Islington fear planned cutbacks to the service could see people left to die in their flats.

Two people were injured after a gunman opened fire in Essex Road last night.


Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now