South East London pollution far exceeds WHO limit, Goldsmiths Citizen Sense Research reveals that Six times WHO limit exceeded on multiple occasions

Working with residents in South East London concerned about air pollution, Citizen Sense found that citizens’ digital monitoring shows evidence of air pollution in relation to major traffic intersections, construction-related activity, and traffic on the River Thames.

– Monitoring device used by citizens across SE London
– Road traffic, construction sites, and River Thames traffic potential causes.

Goldsmiths’ ‘Citizen Sense’ research group equipped local residents with their new ‘Dustbox’ device designed to measure the volume of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5) in the atmosphere in seven areas of South East London.

PM2.5 refers to tiny particles in the air that are able to travel deep into the respiratory tract and can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.

The WHO daily mean concentration guideline of 25 micrograms of PM2.5 per cubic metre of air (µg/m3) was regularly exceeded across Deptford, New Cross and Lewisham, with daily mean concentrations above 150 µg/m3 being registered on multiple occasions between January and April this year.

The research has highlighted a number of likely causes of increasing pollution, with particularly high instances of PM2.5 detected at major traffic intersections, around construction sites for new housing developments, and at locations where drivers often leave engines idling.

Data from the Pepys area of Deptford also indicated the possibility that the primarily diesel-fueled traffic on the River Thames could be causing elevated levels of PM2.5.

Two Dustboxes around 200 metres from the Thames regularly registered a daily mean concentration of PM2.5 over 100 µg/m3 in February 2017.

Professor Jennifer Gabrys said: “There were a number of striking findings from this research, not least the spikes in pollution on certain days and around certain areas. The results suggest that rapid urban regeneration, ever growing volumes of vehicles, and traffic idling are becoming increasingly harmful to London’s atmosphere and its population. We were also drawn to findings that suggested pollution could be coming from River Thames traffic, which raises questions about how we manage that as a city.

“All citizens who took part in this research did so because they are concerned about the rising levels of pollution in their city, and want to use evidence to support projects to improve the urban realm. One of our other surprising findings is that green spaces, if well planted, can make a significant contribution to improving local air quality. We hope that the main takeaway from this research will be that urban design can play a big role in preventing and mitigating air pollution. Our hope is that the monitoring toolkit and data stories will provide a method and guide for others to contribute to the wider development of citizen-led environmental monitoring to support and build more liveable cities.”

They also found that pedestrian streets can make a positive contribution to preventing and mitigating air pollution.

You can read the data stories and findings at:

Data Stories: Deptford

The research was reported in the Evening Standard (14/11/17) at:

The Dustbox was developed at Goldsmiths by the Citizen Sense research group. It includes a sensor for detecting PM2.5, a microcomputer, and WiFi connectivity so data can be uploaded and analysed in real time.

Citizen Sense carried out similar research in the US from 2014 to 2016. This application of monitoring technology in the UK has been carried out by Citizen Sense team members Professor Jennifer Gabrys, Helen Pritchard and Dr Lara Houston.



DeptfordFolk Aitch Consultation

Aitch construction have acquired the land/buildings on the north-west side of Folkestone Gardens. They plan to develop: “commercial workshop and creative industry floorspace and a range of quality new homes”. This development will directly overlook Folkestone Gardens.
Public consultation event:
Tuesday 17th October
3pm to 8pm
Vive Living, Childers Street.
See invitation HERE!



Crossfield Open Space Consultation open until 14th May


Location: Deptford Lounge
Date: Until Sunday 14
th May 

Lewisham Council has been working on a master plan that will inform the re-instatement of Crossfield Open Space post Tideway construction. Work will only start after completion of the Thames Tideway Tunnel, however, time for comment and voicing your views is NOW.

>> Lewisham Website Info

In the late 1980s this site was designated as part of the Site of Nature Conservation Importance called St Paul’s churchyard and Crossfield Open Space. At this time the surrounding area supported many other wildlife habitats and green spaces – many of which today no longer exist.

The principal reason for the inclusion of Crossfield Open Space in the designation was the diversity of the grassland and the presence of one species known (at that time) only from here in the Borough, namely Fiddle Dock. Over a 160 species of wildflower live on this site.

CET has proposed the translocation of a proportion of the turf to conserve part of the site for later reinstatement. By doing this and with appropriate management it should be possible to restore this place back to a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation .

Creekside Discovery Centre – Activities coming up

Dear Andrea,

Mellow Yellow in May – despite the draught we are currently experiencing, we have some mellow yellow wildflowers appearing around the site.

This year we are hosting a series of Wildflowers Pop-ups to give you a chance to see more of the spectacular wildflowers at Creekside. Each Pop-up will have a defferent theme and focus species. Our upcoming Wildflower Pop-up (details below) theme is “Mellow Yellow in May” with a wild mixture of cabbages and coposites all really wild in a real London habitat. Hawk’s-beards, Rockets, Cresses, Ragworts and Buttercups; and don’t forget the three colours: white red and blue.

Below details on:
Wednesday 17th May – Wildflowers Pop-up Free event


Don’t miss our fantastic May Half-term activities for children and families:

30th May – Fishy Tuesday
Catch fish in Deptford Creek and then get stuck into creating fish themed crafts. Ages 5-14

1st June – Bugs & Birds.
Spot birds and hunt for grasshoppers, ladybirds and other small creatures. Then make a tasty snack for the local birds to enjoy. Ages 5-12

The cost of all our holiday activities are subsidised but we understand that this still may be too much for some families.
If you think that your family would love to come but are financially too restricted please apply for a discount under the event  on our website.

FREE EVENT: Wildflowers Pop-Up
Wednesday, 17th May, 6-8pm

Join us to discover more about May’s Mellow Yellow Flowers and find out more about our fascinating Deptford and inner London flora

No booking required. Further details can be found on our website:

May Holidays – Family Holiday Activities
Crossfield Open Space – Exhibition & Public Consultation
Hope Wharf – Exhibition & Public Consultation
Wildlife Spotlight – First glass eel and baby flounder.