The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced funding for 50 of the capital’s ‘most polluted schools’ to help deliver measures aimed at reducing air pollution.
This comes after the Mayor revealed details of audits carried out in each of the schools, carried out by consultancy firm WSP, looking at indoor and outdoor air pollution sources at each of the schools and travel habits of students. Audits also looked at local walking routes and traffic crossings.
Funding will be delivered to implement measures including closing roads or moving playgrounds and school entrances, targeting indoor pollution using ventilation systems, and installing green ‘pollution barrier’ hedges, tackling engine idling outside schools and promoting cycling and walking.
Totalling £1 million, the funding is split to cover £500,000 to deliver non-transport interventions at all 50 audited schools, £300,000 to deliver green infrastructure at any London school located in an area exceeding legal pollution limits (from the Greener City Fund) and £250,000 in funding to launch a new nursery audit programme that will trial filtration systems to reduce indoor air pollution at 20 of the most polluted nurseries in the most polluted areas.
The Mayor is also publishing a toolkit to encourage all boroughs to roll out the air quality audit approach at any school or other sensitive site located in an area exceeding legal pollution limits.
The report look at the differences in pollution levels between classrooms depending on a range of factors, including building characteristics, design and maintenance. A significant proportion of indoor air pollution is due to outdoor air pollution, it suggested, in particular nitrogen dioxide NO2.
The findings suggested that the protection offered by the building increased the further away it was from the busiest roads and that airtight buildings may offer greater protection.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I’m doing everything in my power to protect children in London from air pollution. Our air quality audits set out to reduce pollution in and around school premises.
“City Hall are also offering funding to the 50 audited schools – as well as other schools and nurseries located in high-pollution areas – to help them make immediate changes.
“Air pollution is a national health crisis that is putting the health of children at risk. As Mayor, I’ve moved fast in London to implement the most ambitious plans to tackle air pollution of any major city in the world. This includes cleaning up our bus and taxi fleets, bringing forward the introduction of the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone and introducing the Toxicity Charge – T-Charge – for the oldest polluting vehicles in central London.
“But I can’t do this alone. The government must step up and act with more urgency if we are going to tackle London’s filthy air once and for all.”
Glenn Higgs, associate director at WSP, said: “We are delighted to have worked with the GLA, school communities and boroughs to develop recommendations which will make a real difference to the health and wellbeing of children at 50 primary schools by helping to tackle their air quality issues. This audit process takes a truly multidisciplinary approach, with input from WSP’s air quality, transport, buildings and energy specialists, and can now be rolled out for other schools in London which are most affected by air pollution.”