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University of Birmingham on the UK government's clean air project

Above: aerial view of the campus of the University of Birmingham (Courtesy of University of Birmingham)

Dr Suzanne Bartington, Clinical Research Fellow in Environmental Health at The University of Birmingham, will be speaking at Future Cities Forum's 'Making of the Modern City' discussion event this month, hosted by developer MEPC at its offices in Paradise.

She will join Cllr Ian Courts, Portfolio Holder for energy and the environment at the West Midlands Combined Authority, who is also leading the UK's project into clean air in the region.

Dr Suzanne Bartington is a public health clinician and environmental epidemiologist with research interests focusing on three core themes: (1) health and environmental impacts of ambient and indoor air pollution; (2) sustainable transport mobilities specifically links between active travel infrastructure and health; (3) environmental public policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. Suzanne has cross-cutting interests in development of new methods for monitoring, analysing and modelling impacts of air quality and application of mixed-methods approaches to intervention evaluation.

Dr Bartington trained in Medicine at Fitzwilliam College, University of Cambridge and University College London. She developed early research interests in infectious disease epidemiology as a member of the Millennium Cohort Study Child Health Group at the UCL Institute of Child Health. Her doctoral training supported by a Medical Research Council Studentship, examined seroprevalence of viral infections in early life using population-based oral fluid sample collection. Suzanne further developed her research interests in environmental epidemiology as an Honorary Clinical Research Fellow at the Department of Primary Care and Population Health, Imperial College London.

Suzanne joined the Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham in 2015 where she established an interdisciplinary research programme in environmental epidemiology, transport and infrastructure studies and public policy formulation and evaluation.

Cllr Ian Courts, WMCA portfolio holder for energy and environment, and leader of Solihull Council, said: “Air pollution remains one of the top environmental risks to human health in the UK. It’s a real boost to the region’s future health and prosperity to receive the recent £1m funding boost from Government (to monitor toxins in the air). Whilst we’re making great progress in the West Midlands integrating cutting edge electric vehicles into our transport system, this funding will allow us to better understand and tackle the microscopic particulates associated with tyre wear and brake discs for example.

“By monitoring the particulates in real time, we can be reactive and informed in our response to dealing with areas of poor air quality. Ultimately, it will help us in our aim to reduce the health inequalities linked to air pollution across the region.”

William Bloss, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Birmingham, said: “Through WM-Air and the Birmingham Air Quality Supersite we are able to identify different pollution sources, ranging from road traffic to woodsmoke, and understand how the air we breathe is changing. We are using this insight to inform clean air actions to directly improve health to millions of people across the region.”


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