TOURISTS in the City of Dreaming Spires are not short of guided tours – we have historic walks, open-top buses and even Bill Spectre's beloved ghost trail.

But Oxford's latest offering may have you coughing and spluttering in disbelief.

Two Oxford Brookes University students are this month launching a guided tour of Oxford's air pollution.

For a limited time only this month and next, Mariana Galán and Katherine McGavin are promising to take their walkers on 'an imaginative and sensory journey', starting in 10th century Oxford then travelling around the globe and up to the present-day city to explore the issue.

The 'Oxford in eight breaths' tours – which will be completely free – will culminate in a discussion about what personal actions people can take to help fight pollution.

The friends came up with the idea as part of a university project, but now hope to use the scheme to raise awareness on a subject which they are both passionate about.

Ms McGavin, 29, explained: "Mariana and myself are Master's students at Oxford Brookes studying social sculpture and connective practice.

"Mariana is studying full time and I am studying part time and working at Earthwatch Institute in Summertown.

"The tour was created as part of an assessment, but our intention has always been to run the tours for the public as we feel very strongly about the increasing problem and effects of air pollution in the city and across the globe."

Ms Galán, 30, said the pair are particularly keen to reach people who are less informed about air quality and air pollution challenges.

They have sought expert guidance from the new Oxford Clean Air Action group and will be advertising tours through Oxfordshire Friends of the Earth.

The first tour this Sunday will be invitation-only – specifically with invitations sent to local councillors.

From then on tours will run every Sunday at 11am until August 20. Each walk will last about two hours.

The entrepreneurs might expect their tours to be especially popular following a recent series of worrying revelations about air pollution in Oxford.

In June, Oxford City Council revealed that efforts to tackle the problem seemed to be having diminishing returns, and levels of harmful Nitrogen Dioxide are now plateauing above the EU legal limit in many city streets.

The gas, which is mainly pumped out by diesel exhausts, can cause a variety of health problems, mainly respiratory, and is linked to thousands of deaths in the UK each year.

That revelation was followed by a Greenpeace survey, reported in the Oxford Mail this week, that six city schools, preschools and colleges are within 150m of roads which breach the legal NO2 limit.

Anyone interested in the air pollution guided tours can book online at