Tower Hamlets Council has appointed the charity Sustrans to deliver the first 11 school streets in the borough.
According to research by the local authority, children in Tower Hamlets typically have 10% less lung capacity than the national average because of poor air quality which has led them to propose the 11 new school streets, more than anywhere else in the country.
The school streets model originated in London and sees private vehicles banned from streets near to schools during pick-up and drop-off times.
Currently, streets in Tower Hamlets, Islington, Birmingham, Hackney, Greenwich, Camden, Croydon, Bristol and Lambeth are all trialling the initiative to improve air quality for pupils.
Earlier this week it was revealed by UK100 that just 40 schools in England have set up school streets so far.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: ‘Poor air quality disproportionately impacts on both quality and length of life, so we have been promoting changes to behaviour that will clean up our dirty air for several years.
‘Appointing Sustrans to work with us is another important step on the path to delivering our commitment to introduce school streets for 50 of our primary schools by April 2022. We want to make it easier and safer for our pupils to walk to school and breathe cleaner air.’
Matt Winfield, London Director for Sustrans added: ‘Every child deserves a safe, fun trip to and from the school where they can talk and play with their family and friends away from motor vehicles and polluting fumes.
‘It’s shocking to know that all the schools across London are in locations which breach World Health Organisation limits for air quality.’
Find out more about Tower Hamlets’ Liveable Streets programme, which will complement the work around school streets.
Photo Credit – Sustrans