Environmental Lessons from Scrooge: Air Quality Past, Present and Future


Put down your Charles Dickens book because the air quality ghosts of the past, present, and future will arrive at the university for a forum discussion on 12th December. This forum discussion will cover the history of air pollution, the health effects, and ways in which we can improve our understanding of exposure to pollution in the future. 

Several cities in the UK, including Southampton, have been ordered by the government to take steps to improve air quality. This is to meet EU ambient air quality directive levels of below 40 micrograms per cubic air metre of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) as the mean yearly value by 2022 to avoid fines imposed by the EU onto the respective local authorities. As a result, Southampton City Council ran a recently-closed public consultation on a chargeable clean air zone, which drew over 8,000 contributions, making it one of the largest ever in the UK, and highlighting interest in the topic from all sides of the debate. For more information on the consultation results, click here.

This has driven home to the University the need to better understand and try to improve air quality in the city and highlighted some of the issues in implementing change, resulting in a University-wide “Air Quality Forum”. The aim of this platform will be to help bring researchers from across the University together to try to answer some of the most difficult issues related to air quality, beginning with advancing the accuracy of air quality monitoring networks in Southampton.

The event on 12th December, hosted jointly by the students’ union and the University, will seek to stimulate student and public engagement by inviting people to participate in a discussion with members of the Air Quality Forum. Three academics from the University will give speeches about the past, present and future of air quality in the UK (keeping in line with the Scrooge theme of the event). Following this, Adam Tewkesbury (the University’s Transport Manager) will discuss good practice for the university to improve air quality and Corrin Holloway (University student and President of Bio-Cycle) will talk about the Bio-Cycle student initiative.

SUSU VP Welfare Isabella Camilleri commented to Wessex Scene:

We are very excited to be holding this event, alongside the University. We are always looking for ways to increase awareness about vital environmental issues and how students can adapt to be more sustainable – in addition to the evaluation of our own processes to be more environmentally sustainable. Air pollution is high in Southampton, largely due to the docks in the City and therefore this event addresses important local and current issues.

As implied by the title, “Environmental lessons from Scrooge” we will be delving into the past, present and future matters of air pollution in Southampton- a discussion that will be led by Southampton lecturers at the forefront of this field of research.

Our SUSU Ethics and Environmental Student Leader, Lucy Stephenson, has been working tirelessly with Nicola Turvey, UoS Sustainability Manager, to organise this event and we are very proud of all the work she has done to pull this off!

SUSU Ethics and Environmental Officer, Lucy Stephenson, further stated that:

SUSU are holding this event as an attempt to highlight air quality as issue, particularly relevant to our city and therefore our university. The speakers are university academics who are at the forefront of research into the area so it will be hopefully provide inspiration to prompt valuable discussion about potential solutions to the air quality problem.

Thus, if you are further interested you can attend the  ‘Environmental Lessons from Scrooge: Air Quality Past, Present and Future’ event on Wednesday 12th December 2018 from 14:00 – 16:00pm which is taking place on Highfield Campus, in Building 32, Room 1015. The link to the Facebook event page is here and free tickets are available on Eventbrite here.

Additionally, for more information on the latest projects SUSU’s Sustainability Zone Student Leaders are working on, follow their Facebook page, accessible here.


International Editor for 2018/19 | Writes mainly International/Opinion pieces

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