UCL Engineering Exchange


Regents Park air quality monitoring

Residents concerned about increasing air pollution have undertaken a citizen science approach to monitoring air quality in their community

An image of construction works behind the British Library and St Pancras

29 August 2017

The problem

Pollution from traffic is a huge concern in the Regent’s Park Estate, exacerbated by historic and current planning decisions. The new high speed rail programme HS2 has been designed to bisect the estate. Residents have concerns about the associated impacts of digging, building, bulldozing and a large amount of extra traffic.

Our solution

The Estate is within the remit of the West Euston Partnership (WEP), a charity tackling inequality in health and employment opportunities in the area north of Euston Road, between Regent’s Park and Euston Station. Thus, the WEP approached the EngEx in 2018 with concerns about the potential effects of HS2 on air quality in the Estate.

The EngEx put them in contact with UCL Professor of Geographical Information Science, Professor Muki Haklay. Together, they designed a project to monitor air quality around the Regent’s Park Estate.

The project used a ‘citizen science’ approach to teach local residents how to measure air quality. Citizen science can help empower local communities by increasing capacities to access and use scientific and technical literature. It also builds on skills and knowledge that already exist in communities.

Residents and members of WEP were invited to participate in two workshops at UCL. The first aimed to build the community’s capacity to access scientific literature. The second workshop focused on collaboratively building a monitoring plan for air quality in the area, before and after commencement of the HS2 construction. The workshops began with the ‘skilling up’ of residents through support in performing a literature review, including training and library access. They followed this with design support for a community-led air quality monitoring process.


The project is also envisioned as a pathway to support residents in gaining support from Camden Council in mitigating any negative impacts that might arise from HS2.

To read about similar air quality projects taking place around Euston, see Monitoring air quality in Somers Town.