A CHILWORTH technology company is launching a new pilot scheme to monitor air pollution levels in Eastleigh.

The borough will be the testing zone for the mobile air-quality monitoring system, which will be able to detect levels of pollution on the streets in real time.

Eastleigh is the first area in the UK to trial the new technology launched by Iknaia.

It means new equipment will be placed around sites in Eastleigh from November.

The system is the latest addition to the Airscan, which was also used to communicate live journey times to motorists on the M3 smart motorway project.

The new version adds an air quality monitoring module, which uses gas sensors to detect a range of noxious gases in the atmosphere.

Founder of Chilworth-based Iknaia, Julia McNally, said: "Air pollution largely comes from road traffic and is linked to heart disease and lung problems, including asthma. Our objective is to combine both types of data – journey time and congestion monitoring, together with air quality.

"This will provide local authorities with data that will enable them to make choices such as building new homes away from busy roads and consider closing roads at certain times.

"By providing data to motorists, it will help them to make decisions about the routes they choose, and can impact their health."

Environmental lead at Eastleigh Borough Council, Bret Willers, said it could be spread to more local authorities as a cost-effective tool.

Cllr Willers said: "We will be evaluating the effectiveness and accuracy of the system over the coming months. This could be a very cost effective tool for local authorities to assist the management of air quality."

The usual cost of a static air quality monitoring system is more than £50,000. The Airscan equipment will not replace existing air pollution monitors, but build new ones around the borough.