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A PROJECT aimed at testing air quality in Port Talbot is expected to create around 50 new jobs in manufacturing and engineering.

Neath Port Talbot Council and South Wales-based company Vortex IoT are set to launch a pilot scheme that will give a better understanding of air pollution in the locality.

Council leader Ted Latham said: “Because different areas have different levels of air quality, this will be important for us to measure, monitor and analyse what’s happening.

“We we hope that this will go a long way in dealing with the air quality in and around Port Talbot. Once that’s done we can expand the pilot elsewhere.”

Vortex IoT is set to move into the refurbished Metal Box factory site in Neath and create up to 50 skilled engineering and manufacturing jobs in the next 18 months.

As part of the scheme, 70 digital sensors will be used to provide instant data on air pollution levels. They will be attached to lampposts in residential areas across Margam, Taibach, Aberavon, Sandfields and Baglan Energy Park.

Cllr Latham said the new sensors can determine the type of pollution within a certain area, such as emissions from industry or rain.

By getting more accurate readings of air quality in different locations, the council hopes to uncover areas where pollution is particularly high and trace any pollution sources that were previously hidden. It will then use this information to target specific areas using methods like traffic orders.

Cllr Leanne Jones, deputy leader and cabinet member for
community safety and public protection, said: “We can identify the troubled spots to make sure that we can get the air quality to the cleanest possible.

“The outcome of that would be looking to make the air cleaner in those particular places.”

Vortex IoT will provide the sensors, wireless network and maintenance workers for the scheme. This technology is already being used to measure air quality in Hammersmith and Fulham, London.

The project will be funded by the £1.3 billion Swansea Bay City Deal, which aims to create 9,000 jobs in its 15-year lifespan.

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