The ‘citizen science’ air pollution monitoring programme by Oxford Friends of the Earth (OxFoE) has reveal several air pollution hotspots in the city.

The findings are from two years of recorded data provided by a network of 26 particulate air pollution monitors around the city.

Chris Church of Oxford FoE said: "Oxford still has problems with air pollution.

"Particulate pollution is one part of this and it is mainly linked to wood burning.

"We are not looking to leave people in cold unheated homes: we know that in most homes where there are wood burners there is also central heating.

"But there is too little awareness of the health risks of wood-burning.

"Even certified stoves can be significant polluters and generate health hazards to the users and their neighbours."

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The project was financially backed by volunteers and supported by the City Council.

Before the project was launched, OxFoE said particulates were measured by Oxford City Council using two large monitors in St Ebbes and High St.

With the council’s aid, OxFoE laid 26 ‘Purple Air’ monitors to cover a much broader area of Oxford city for the measurement of particulates.

Two of these Purple Air monitors were located next to the large council monitors.

The OxFoE said data collected by its monitors show significant variation across the city, which the two large City monitors were not able to detect.

The council monitors revealed a connection between particulate levels and cold days, indicating that domestic wood burning is a key source of this pollution.

The ‘Purple Air’ monitors, which are cheaper and less costly to operate, it said, reflect the pollution levels observed by the council's monitors, especially on cold days when more wood is burning.

OxFoE is planning to extend the network of air pollution monitors and collaborate with schools to place more monitors across Oxford to provide more comprehensive local data information.

It also supports the council’s current Air Quality Consultation, which aims to extend the current smoke control zone covering about half the city across the whole city.

John Muellbauer and Janine Aron, working on data collected from the monitors with the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said: “Tens of thousands of these low cost Purple Air monitors are used in the US and across Europe, for example to monitor smoke pollution from wildfires.

"Numerous global studies have shown their value. Our Oxford FOE website gives detailed references on the alarming health issues associated with woodsmoke.

"Good spatial awareness of the pollution levels across the city will help protect Oxford’s citizens.”

Thomas Douglas, another member of the group, said: "Canal boats are a significant source of pollution in Oxford.

"Some of the highest peaks have been measured by monitors close to moorings.

"We need to find ways to ensure that boat occupants can meet their winter heating needs without burning highly polluting fuels, like wet or treated wood."