A breath of fresh air – new fleet of black cabs has air inside as clean as the Peak District

03 July 2019

Technology has the potential to reduce pollution impact across the UK

Londoners can try these clean air cabs for FREE for two days this July

People in one of the UK’s pollution hotspots will be able to breathe air that’s as clean as that found at Peak District National Park this summer , thanks to a new fleet of black cabs that have been fitted with innovative air cleaners, containing unique patented nano carbon filtration technology. This technology works to remove up to 97 per cent of particulate matter (PM2.5) and up to 95 per cent of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) from the air inside the cab within ten minutes.

Ten electric cabs will hit London today, showcasing the technology in one of the most polluted cities in the UK. All cabs have been fitted with cutting-edge air filtration technology from Airlabs, the world’s leading pioneers in clean air technology, as recent statistics reveal that forty towns and cities in the UK are breaking World Health Organisation guideline limits for fine particle pollution.

Created as part of a new partnership between Barclays and Airlabs, the ‘Barclays Air cabs’ will be available for hire on London’s roads for twelve weeks this summer – and for two days (3rd and 4th July) the cabs will be free of charge for journeys in zones 1 and 2, so more Londoners can get a lungful of fresh air.

The World Health Organisation guideline safety limit for annual Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) exposure is 40 µg/m3. When tested in the Barclays Air cabs, pre-filtered air peaked at 111 µg/m3 NO2 inside the cab.

After minutes of using the air cleaning device, the air inside the cab dropped to as low as 5.7 µg/m3 NO2 - as clean as the air in the Peak District National Park, which averages 7 µg/m3 NO2.

Matthew Johnson, Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder of Airlabs said:
“We’ve witnessed worryingly high levels of toxic pollution in cities across the UK in recent years, and the concern is only growing for those living and working in pollution hot spots – with London being one of the worst. An ever-increasing number of people are exposed to unhealthy pollution levels".

“With the help of Barclays, we’re able to continue to grow as a business and commit ourselves to reducing people’s exposure to air pollution by developing new technologies and new solutions. Without the support of businesses such as Barclays, we wouldn’t be able to achieve the growth and scale that is needed for us to have the greatest possible impact on the quality of the air that people around the world breathe.”

Michael Albert, London cab driver says:
“My cab is essentially my office – and knowing that I could be spending my working day in dangerous levels of pollution is really concerning, not just for me but also for my passengers. When the weather gets warmer over the summer and more people visit London, pollution can become a real issue and I’m really pleased that these filters can bring a breath of fresh air to the centre of our great city.”

Juliet Rogan, National Head of High Growth & Entrepreneurs at Barclays says:
“Our job at Barclays is to back UK businesses by helping them grow, and we know that great businesses are often created by coming up with ways of solving the important problems that people really care about, such as air-pollution.

“This is why we’ve launched our new fleet of Barclays Air cabs, which can provide cleaner and healthier air for both passengers and drivers alike. We’ve also made ten of the taxis free for two days in order to help tech innovators like Matthew to take Airlabs to the next level. We want to help many more high-growth entrepreneurs who create growth and jobs for the UK economy.”

The patented technology is being trialed in cabs because pollution levels inside a vehicle can be up to two and a half times higher than outside ; measurements of London traffic show nitrogen dioxide concentrations up to 20 times above the exposure threshold, and particulate matter concentrations four times above the exposure threshold – both of which can cause short and long-term health problems.

Recent stats unveiled London as one of the UK’s most congested cities , which means the 20,000 plus black cab drivers in London spend every day at work breathing in potentially harmful levels of pollution as well as their passengers.

But it’s not just London that could benefit from a fleet of Barclays Air cabs, as Airlabs reveals that towns and cities across the UK are suffering from unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide , with the highest levels recorded in:

• Hafod-yr-ynys
• London
• Glasgow
• Edinburgh
• Stoke-on-Trent
• Chepstow
• Belfast
• Bath
• Bradford
• Oxford

Barclays Air cabs are the first in a line of initiatives to showcase the positive impact of small businesses that are using technology to solve societal and environmental issues. Over the next five years, entrepreneurs working with Barclays will aim to add 16,000 jobs to the UK.

Barclays is committed to backing the UK through supporting SMEs and entrepreneurs, who represent the future of UK jobs and growth. Barclays helps start a new business every 4 minutes, and nearly one million small and medium-sized businesses have been provided with guidance, financial support and more, including 100 Brexit workshops across the UK. The bank also recently launched a £14bn lending fund, to help UK businesses navigate the next three years.


Notes to Editors

About Barclays, Backing the UK and Unreasonable Impact
When the societies where we operate succeed, Barclays succeeds. That is why, for over three centuries, we have risen to the challenges that our communities face, and played our part.

And our commitment to backing the UK has never been more important.

Amongst the one million UK businesses we support each day, we’re helping a group of high growth entrepreneurs aiming to solve some of the world’s biggest societal and environmental challenges.

These entrepreneurs see that dealing with these challenges can also be enormous business opportunities. And with our support, they can continue to scale their innovations to help to solve these challenges and create new jobs in the UK.

These solutions are as dramatic as the problems they address, whether it’s purifying air with nanotechnology, recycling previously unrecyclable plastics or creating low emission bio-fuel from waste cooking oil. Barclays is supporting these entrepreneurs through the Unreasonable Impact programme, which since inception in 2016 has supported 32 UK organisations, which in the next 5 years will aim to generate 16,000 new jobs.

This is just one of many examples of how Barclays is Backing the UK. Whether it be supporting growing UK business, launching a £14bn lending fund for SME’s, or delivering over 100 Brexit clinics in local communities; Barclays is committed to Backing the UK.

About Barclays
Barclays is a transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs 83,500 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website www.home.barclays

About Airlabs

Airlabs is a leading pioneer in clean air technology. With more than 90% of the world’s population exposed to unsafe levels of air pollution, Airlabs’ mission is to clean polluted urban air and make it safe for healthy breathing.

Its international team of atmospheric chemistry scientists, airflow engineers and sensor specialists has developed cutting edge and scientifically proven solutions for measuring, mapping and cleaning urban air pollution.

Airlabs has developed a completely new filter technology that removes an extremely high percentage of toxic gas molecules and particulate matter from air streams, without obstructing the airflow.
This patented nano-carbon filtration technology is the first of its kind and allows Airlabs to create highly efficient air cleaning solutions for both indoors, outdoors and in vehicles. Its most-recent innovation is the Airbubbl, a device specifically designed for cleaning the air inside cars. Airbubbl is the only product that removes up to 95% of pollutants and does this faster than any other product on the market today.

In addition to their cutting-edge air cleaning solutions, Airlabs has also developed solid-state air quality sensor devices, which offer a unique combination of high accuracy, compactness and low operating cost. These smart devices will enable a breakthrough in large-scale deployment of high-resolution real-time air pollution monitoring networks in cities around the world.

Airlabs technology was used to create four clean air zones at London’s Marylebone Railway Station and the first clean air retail store, the Stella McCartney store on Old Bond Street. Airlabs also provided the technology behind Michael Pinsky’s ‘Pollution Pods’ installation at Somerset House.

Airlabs is headquartered in London, has its R&D labs in Copenhagen and also operates from offices in Santa Monica, Boca Raton and Singapore.

For more information on Airlabs contact: info@airlabs.com





[1] This is calculated using annual Nitrogen Dioxide data, supplied by DEFRA. The Automatic Rural Monitoring Network measured levels of NO2 7 µg/m3 at Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District National Park.
[2] Source: Comparison of air pollution exposures in active vs passive travel mode in European cities: a quantitative review – Environment International 99 (2017)
3 Source: measurements inside a Barclays Air cab on 1st July 2019 in Westminster, Central London.
4 Source: Automatic Urban and Rural Network – DEFRA UK
5 Terms and conditions can be found at https://home.barclays/aircabs