EASTLEIGH has won government funding for a new scheme to monitor pollution on the M3.

Eastleigh Borough Council has been awarded £58,750, which will pay for 25 mobile air quality and traffic monitors as part of a targeted programme around the borough.

Over the past 18 months, the council has been trialling smart monitors developed by local manufacturer Iknaia, based in Chilworth.

The Airscan system is able to detect levels of pollution on Eastleigh’s streets in real time.

The new monitoring equipment will be easy to move around the borough, meaning the council’s environment team can collect data from different locations and assess the impact that traffic is having on the air residents breathe.

It will complement the static air quality monitoring stations already in place.

Initially, the 25 sensors will be put close to the interchange between the M3 and M27 motorways and to Southampton International Airport. They will then be moved to other key locations over the following three years.

Among other clean-air initiatives, the council operates airAlert, in partnership with Southampton City Council. It’s a free service which sends messages to a mobile or home telephone, informing subscribers that poor air quality is predicted in their area.

MP for Eastleigh Mims Davies said: “I know how important air quality is to people living and working right across our area, and I know that this cash will be widely welcomed. Of key importance is that Eastleigh Borough Council uses this money wisely. This council’s approach to planning locally has led to many of the concerns that my constituents have over the air that we all breathe, and this is a good opportunity for council bosses to right that wrong.”

The council’s lead environment officer, Jason Light, said: “The quality of the air we breathe is one of the most important environmental factors impacting health and we are very pleased to have won this funding.”

“The system will also help us raise awareness of air pollution in the borough and how residents and business can do their bit to cut emissions.”