Progress of Forum’s air quality project

The Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum is testing levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) in Hampstead’s air. The year-long project began in September 2021. Francesca Agostini, co-leader of the project with Katharina Schauer, reported on its progress in the Ham & High.

Working in partnership with Green School Runs NW3, The Heath & Hampstead Society and the Borough of Camden, we have placed diffusion tubes in ten locations. We will compare the results with those of a similar project in 2015. The levels of NO₂ that we found in 2015 were surprisingly high for leafy Hampstead and inspired some of the policies in the Hampstead Neighbourhood Plan, which was approved by residents in a public referendum in 2018.

We need additional funding to complete this project. Please donate.

Monitor locationsMonitor locations

The locations of the tubes can be seen on the map. See a larger version.

The first few months of laboratory data suggest a reduction in NO₂ pollution compared with the levels we recorded six years ago, though it remains in excess of legal limits. However, it is far too soon to predict the final results.

There is certainly no cause for complacency about the quality of the air we breathe. In recent years epidemiologists have learned more about how air pollution harms us, and the World Health Organisation has lowered the limits that it suggests we should consider to be safe. The government is considering revising the legal limits, and Camden plans to hold a consultation soon on its next Clean Air Action Plan.

Volunteers are changing and re-installing the diffusion tubes each month. We are delighted that pupils from three local schools are among our volunteers: Devonshire House, Maria Montessori School and UCS Junior Branch. Each group of children is responsible for the tubes close to their school. They are also involved in analysis and follow-up. We thank all the volunteers very much for their invaluable help.

The project leaders, Katharina Schauer and Francesca Agostini, can both be contacted at .

Our team are being advised by Camden’s air quality officer. The readings are reference quality, fit to stand with Camden’s official figures. We will be able to tell whether we are on track to get inside WHO-recommended limits by 2030, or if more action is needed.

This is the Hampstead Neighbourhood Forum’s second project to measure our area’s air quality. The first tests were carried out in 2015.

Get involved

We are looking for funding to add to the donations that we have already received. We thank the Heath & Hampstead Society, as well as other donors, for their generous support. The Forum relies entirely on donations to fund all its activities. Please donate.

Further updates and information on our findings will be posted on this page.