Vehicle pollution will be sucked out of the road under plans to install
cat’s eye-style filters at the most toxic junctions.
Technology has been developed that uses low-energy fans between lanes to
pull in exhaust fumes before treating the pollution at the roadside.
Initial tests suggest that it can remove an average of 30 per cent of
dangerous pollutants, including fine particles from brakes and tyres as
well as nitrogen oxides generated by engines.
It has been developed by Pollution Solution, a Hertfordshire-based company
that plans to sign deals with highways contractors to use it in
high-pollution areas. It is negotiating with a local authority to initially
install it in east London, where it would target areas where vehicles sit
with idling engines, such as outside schools or at traffic lights,
pedestrian crossings and busy junctions.
The technology, which costs about £60,000 to install, works by cutting a
small channel in the middle of the road. A series of pod heads similar to
cat’s eyes sit slightly above the surface and are connected by pipes to a
roadside air station the size of a large bin.
When cars stop, they trigger a roadside sensor and fans pull in particulate
matter, as well as toxic gases such as nitrogen oxides from exhausts. The
matter is collected in a filter while the nitrogen oxides are treated and
leave the system as 99 per cent clean air, the company said. It can run
fully or partly on solar power. The plans come amid growing public concern
about air pollution, which is believed to cause an estimated 40,000
premature deaths a year.