Air Quality Monitoring Trailers

Bott have worked in partnership with the Environment Agency since 2014 to provide racking and livery for their diverse fleet. Previous builds include EA officer and response vehicles, Incident Response Command Units, welfare units, workshop containers and many others.

Bott were contacted by EA in October 2016 with an unusual brief, which was for two Air Quality Monitoring Trailers. These units are deployed to major incidents to support the Emergency Services in defining and managing harmful gases or chemicals in the air and on the ground.


These project challenges were:

  • To create a bespoke power system which would allow extended periods of high electrical demand on battery power only
  • To integrate EA's full suite of monitoring equipment with workstations and external sensors
  • To situate all these items within a user-friendly, compliant and weight-balanced trailer unit

The initial months of the project were spent with our Electrical Development team identifying ideas for a solution to meet the power requirement. After extensive investigation and discussion with EA, a hybrid system comprising a lithium-ion battery/inverter set-up and an LPG generator was agreed.

The full design specification was then worked out by CAD, Engineering, Electrical Development and Compliance. The teams worked through all elements of the brief to produce drawings which showed the trailer shell, internal layout, weight distribution and equipment integration. This allowed the customer to approve all elements and give the go-ahead for production to commence. A full project plan was then created and agreed with Production, Sub-Suppliers and EA.

The all-important power system was engineered, built and tested in the Electrical Development area to ensure operation in all scenarios, providing up to five hours at full-load on battery power alone. At the point when the batteries are discharged to a minimum level, the system then auto-starts the on-board generator to seamlessly continue the power provision and recharge the batteries at the same time.


CAD, Engineering, Compliance and Purchasing focussed on the final designs for our sub-contractor to build the trailers, incorporating doors, hatches, reinforcement, external mounting points, insulation and paint finish. The internal equipment layout and weight distribution was meticulously built up.

The workshop Special Build team worked tirelessly to produce two completed units to the highest level of quality. It was necessary for the whole project team, which now included Graphics and Appraisals, to work closely together to ensure the exacting requirements of EA's brief were met.

A special handover event was hosted at Bott Ashby, with Lara Neighbour, EA’s project lead, and Dafydd Evans, EA’s Deputy Director of Incident Management and Resilience. This was an opportunity to celebrate the project’s success with key project members from both companies and senior EA end-user representatives. The final team member was introduced: our resident cake-maker!

Lara Neighbour, project lead for EA said

The new trailers enhance our ability to respond to incidents that are having a major impact on air quality, better enabling our gathering and sharing of technical information with our partner organisations (Public Health England and the Met Office). The innovation within these trailers allows them function as mobile laboratories, and being able to operate in the field without requiring an external power source is key to maintaining our presence at these incidents. Bott’s collaborative and innovative approach has delivered the step change that has made this possible


The trailers are scheduled to go into service with EA in October 2017.