The company believes this rise in interest has come about due to more local authorities seeking to tick ‘e-government’ data reporting boxes.
Since the site’s inception two years ago a multitude of local authorities including Swansea, Bristol, Mid-Devon, Teignbridge, Blyth Valley and – most recently – Chelmsford have signed up to the online air quality data reporting service.
Says Stephen Hoskin, Enviro Technology’s AQMS Sales Manager: “We feel this website has been popular for many reasons. Firstly, it ties all of an authority’s air quality data into one place, which is great for academics or consultants looking to pull off accurate, up-to-date information quickly.
“Secondly, the site is fully automatic. Air quality information can be fed in from analysers at one, or many, sites via modem or internet link. Data is then deciphered and displayed in easy to understand language on the authorities bespoke www.airqualitydata.com site. This means that time the time that it traditionally took to read and translate AQ data is dramatically cut, thus freeing up human resource.”
For local authorities, setting up ET’s Air Quality data website couldn’t be simpler. The site is based on a template format which displays basic, but necessary, information. The template can then be amended to ‘fit’ existing local authority website designs, thus making the site look like part of the overall e-structure.
Bristol City Council signed up to the online service in May 2006. Their site www.bristol.airqualitydata.com is now live.
Steve Crawshaw, Bristol City Council’s Senior Scientific Officer, says: “Following a successful bid for funding from DEFRA we worked with Enviro Technology to develop a website that showed the locations of our monitor sites and enabled users to download air quality data, graphs and reports.
“We are constantly looking at ways to make more data increasingly available to the public and, in terms of AQ monitoring, this website does the job. The fact that we can make it completely bespoke to us is an added bonus, and the set up cost was affordable.”
A site has also been developed for Bristol to show air quality data for display in public buildings. www.bristol.airqualitydata.com/MAIN.swf shows recent pollution levels and bandings and is currently displayed on a plasma screen in the foyer of Bristol's CREATE environment centre. It is planned to roll this out to more locations in the city over the next year.