Environment

How Lord Drayson hopes to stamp out Britain’s air pollution crisis with an app

By Oliver Smith 11 August 2015
Summary

Over 29,000 UK deaths were attributed to particulate air pollution, now a British lord has a plan to stop us using diesel cars.

There are dozens of industries being disrupted my mobile and using data to turn previously dull tasks into a game, like the Dimes app that hopes to make saving money fun, by ‘gamifying’ what we do.

Now a peer in Britain’s House of Lords is hoping to use gamification to save the environment.

Millionaire, former Labour Minister and founder of the Drayson Racing motor racing team, Lord Drayson (pictured) has throw his clout behind a new initiative to measure Britain’s air pollution problem caused by diesel engines.

Some 29,000 deaths every year are attributed to particulate air pollution caused by the fuel, making diesel a bigger killer than smoking in the UK. The chairwoman of Parliament’s Environmental Audit select committee last year described the tragic situation as a “public health crisis”.

Drayson’s new business, CleanSpace launching on 8 September, incorporates a £35 smartphone-sized air pollution sensor which connects to an Android or iOS app over bluetooth.

The idea is that users will collect valuable data in return for points, so-called ‘CleanMiles’, awarded for things like biking or walking instead of taking the car.

CleanMiles can then be exchanged for rewards at partner companies with Halfords already signed up to the scheme.

Collected pollution data will be anonymised and shared with others on the network so they can see where there are high levels of pollution on their journeys.

Drayson hopes to expand the network of sensors to 500,000 members across the UK, he’s currently trialling the technology with 250 early testers.