EarthSense Air Pollution Sensors Evidence Clean Air Initiatives as Part of BBC Showcase


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Leicestershire, 09 January 2018 – In close collaboration with resident groups, television producers and personality Dr Xand van Tulleken, EarthSense Systems has demonstrated the effectiveness of community action to tackle localised air quality issues. The initiative, which took place in December 2017 in the Kings Heath suburb of Birmingham, demonstrates the challenges faced by typical urban communities with congested high streets and busy shopping areas.

 As part of a day long campaign of action residents were urged to leave their cars at home, instead using public transport or walking or cycling for the daily commute and school runs. Volunteers carried out people and traffic surveys and Dr Xand van Tulleken showed his support presenting for the BBC TV programme “Fighting for Air” which will air on 10 January. The experiment utilised special air pollution sensors, developed by EarthSense, which monitored changes in air pollution on the day compared to recordings elsewhere in Birmingham.

 “We need to reinvent our high streets and communities to encourage relaxing and enjoyable environments, and clean and healthy air is a key part of the package. The EarthSense air quality sensors provide a tangible way of recording and presenting evidence which can be used to plan and promote further initiatives,” commented Professor Roland Leigh, Technical Director of EarthSense Systems. “This programme clearly demonstrates the positive outcomes that can be achieved as a result of community action.”

 In the run up to the community initiative EarthSense used its state-of-the-art Zephyr air quality monitoring sensors to measure the base line of air pollution along the busy Kings Heath High Street and outside St Dunstan’s Catholic Primary School. Results showed consistently high readings across the course of each of the proceeding 3 days with peaks in Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) during rush hour and school drop off and pick-ups.

 Spearheaded by the Residents Forum, the Kings Heath Clean Air Day promoted ‘leave your car at home’ and took place on Friday 1st December 2017. During the course of the day the EarthSense Zephyrs captured real time measurements of air pollution and, when compared with the previous days’ results, it became apparent that the community action had achieved significant reductions in NO2. Building on the Kings Heath’s project success EarthSense has launched a range air quality community packages that are available for pre-order.

 EarthSense Systems is a joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and the University of Leicester.


Dr Roland Leigh or Tom Hall, EarthSense, +44 (0) 0116 225 4678 or

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Notes to editors:

 The Zephyr sensor used by EarthSense to capture real time air pollutions measurements is compact, lightweight and portable, and can be operated in static or mobile mode. Measuring pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Ozone (O3), the Zephyr can also be calibrated to measure Particulate Matter (PM), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO).

 EarthSense Systems aims to deliver products that enable the world to visualise and solve its air quality issues. A joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and the University of Leicester, EarthSense enables policy makers, planners and those responsible for delivering results to access real world information in order to support decision making. With a mix of hardware (air quality sensors), software (bespoke modelling), data (derived and complementary) and people, EarthSense is uniquely poised to take a lead in air quality monitoring solutions and services, making a difference to people’s lives and delivering high value information to a range of consumers and decision makers.

 EarthSense has already undertaken a range of air quality monitoring projects, including trials of an airborne air quality mapper, air pollution monitoring equipment on a rocket, and mobile mapping with air quality sensors mounted in electric cars. Future plans include the establishment of a nationwide network of air quality monitoring sensors, feeding live data for up to the minute air quality predictions.

 EarthSense Systems is a joint venture between aerial mapping company Bluesky and the University of Leicester.

 Bluesky is a specialist in aerial survey including aerial photography, LiDAR and thermal data using the very latest survey technology, including two UltraCam Eagles and a Teledyne Optech Galaxy LiDAR system integrated with a PhaseOne camera and thermal sensor. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies. 

Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography and maintains national “off the shelf” coverage of aerial photography, DTM and DSM through an on-going three-year update programme. The integrated Galaxy LiDAR system, which includes thermal and aerial photography cameras, places Bluesky at the forefront of this technology and in the enviable position of being able to provide customers with unique and extremely cost effective solutions.

 Bluesky is leading the way in developing innovative solutions for environmental applications, including the UK’s first National Tree Map™ (NTM), solar mapping and citywide ‘heat loss’ maps and is currently developing noise and air quality mapping products.

 University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is led by discovery and innovation – an international centre for excellence renowned for research, teaching and broadening access to higher education. It is among the top 25 universities in the Times Higher Education REF Research Power rankings with 75% of research adjudged to be internationally excellent with wide-ranging impacts on society, health, culture, and the environment. Find out more:

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