Queens Square - Croydon Council Case Study

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London feels like it is constantly being rebuilt; nowhere is that more evident than in Croydon which has 11 multi-million pound developments in process during any given month. The resulting pollution and congestion that these sites cause is a serious concern to local communities and the traveling public. 

Croydon Council has been at the forefront of investments to manage environmental impact. They have established the town centre as an Air Quality Management Area, and have promised to work with their local communities to make Croydon the most sustainable borough in London. With a new development at Queen’s Square, opposite the Town Hall, there was a great opportunity to help realise this aspiration. New developments are vital for any community, but they shouldn’t start by damaging the local environment and people’s health. For the team at Croydon, there were too many projects underway and too few people to have visibility across them all, let alone reduce the negative impact

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With more than 270 significant planning applications at any one time, Croydon Council found it challenging to collect and collate data from each site to know if pollution breaches are being actioned. To achieve Croydon’s commitment to air quality management, they needed a tool that would automate monitoring and reporting, and send alerts when pollutants reached harmful thresholds, but even that would not help them manage and reduce air pollution.

The problem was that air quality monitoring data informing them of a breach was not enough. It simply told them what they already knew, that when there were vehicles on a site air quality got worse and it needed addressing.

What they lacked was insights and evidence that identified the sources of pollution so they could take that information to the fleet operators and fix the problem. By fusing air quality data with vehicle location data, EMSOL delivered a real-time view of the specific sources of pollution at Queens Square and enabled their small compliance team to make a big difference reducing air pollution. 

EMSOL was able to identify potential pollution reductions of 154 NO2/month (µg/ m3) by attributing air quality breaches to vehicles. Given DEFRA and WHO set much lower NO2 µg/m3 levels these highlighted potential reductions would enable Croydon to ensure a cleaner local community and safer environment for on-site workers. 

All of this data was presented through real-time, informative dashboards, and live site maps, for easy presentation to the council and contractor via the EMSOL system and enabled them to work with the site operations team and supply chain to fix the problem. This helped align all the key parties including the local community.

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Next Steps

Croydon Council, already an innovator in environmental compliance, took a critical step towards supporting the health and wellbeing of those working and living in urban areas by managing the realworld air quality impact at Queen’s Square. EMSOL has been a partner to enable this vision of minimising air pollution

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