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Addison Lee founder Donates £1m to Fund Schools-Based Air Quality Sensors

Addison Lee founder John Griffin donates £1m to fund the first 500 schools-based sensors
Change London has been given £1million by Addison Lee founder John Griffin to fund the first 500 schools-based air quality sensors to monitor air quality in London through the 'AirSensa' project.

Change London has created the AirSensa project in response to a growing number of reports showing the damaging effects of poor air quality on Londoners. The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates that thousands of Londoners die early as a result of air pollution (and up to 30,000 nationally), costing the UK economy £16 billion every year.

Change London believes that you can't manage what you can't measure, so the AirSensa project has been designed to monitor and visualise air quality, initially across London, down to individual street level, so that real-time information can be shared and steps can be taken to improve air quality.

Deliveries of air sensor units will begin next month and the first 500 units will be installed and generating data within 6 months. The network will eventually consist of up to 10,000 sensors across the whole of greater London, including schools, business premises and other key locations.

Change London CEO Jonathan Steel said: "Poor air quality affects all of us, but particularly children. You can't see emissions from road vehicles and domestic and commercial heating systems, but long-term exposure is damaging the health of everyone who lives, works or goes to school in London.

"We believe that it's vital that we learn more about air pollution, and about the simple steps we can all take that can add up to a healthier city. The first step is to take accurate readings across London, and this is what the AirSensa project is designed to deliver".

Change London advisory board member Professor Jonathan Grigg said: "London is one of the most polluted cities in Europe - incredibly, I think. Poor air quality can reduce life expectancy, and gives rise to increased levels of cancer, heart and lung diseases in the population, low baby birth weight, increases in child asthma and reduced lung function.

"It should be the right of every child to breathe as clean air as possible."

(Jonathan Grigg is Professor of Paediatric Respiratory and Environmental Medicine and honorary consultant paediatrician at Barts and the London School of Medicine, Queen Mary University London)

Donor John Griffin said: "As the founder of London's largest minicab firm, I feel a responsibility to get this ball rolling. Change London's approach appeals to me as it is about taking action. We can't speculate about the quality of air, we need to know the facts; and we need to be able to look across London and - all together - take steps to change it. "

"I'm particularly interested in the schools element of the project - poor air quality is damaging children more than us - and I think that if I can help to enable the next generation to learn about air pollution and how to address the problems, that is a legacy I can be very proud of."

See a short film about air pollution in Londonand the AirSensa project at


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