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London extends school air quality audit programme

The detailed audits assessed the air quality in some of the UK capital’s worst polluted schools and made a series of recommendations to protect pupils.

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London’s toxic air is directly harming the health of our children, said Khan
London’s toxic air is directly harming the health of our children, said Khan

Two hundred London schools in areas of high air pollution will implement measures to protect pupils from toxic air as five London boroughs commit to extending mayor Sadiq Khan’s air quality audit programme.

 

The move builds on a scheme initially introduced for 50 schools in the most polluted areas of London.

 

Air quality audits

 

Under the scheme, detailed air quality audits were carried out in 50 schools across 23 London boroughs. The audits assessed the air quality in some of the UK capital’s worst polluted schools and made a series of recommendations to protect pupils.

 

As part of the programme, a £1m fund was issued, providing each of the 50 audited schools with a £10,000 starter grant and enabled any of the other London schools located in areas exceeding legal air pollution limits to apply for green infrastructure funding.

 

Now Newham, Islington, Southwark, Westminster and Brent have committed to extend the air quality audit programme to help cut pollution in their schools. Newham council is extending air quality audits to all primary and secondary schools in the borough as part of a long-term air quality monitoring study.

 

The monitoring will help target clean air initiatives which currently includes a “healthy school streets” programme and ‘anti-idling’ campaigns.

“That is why it is absolutely critical that we work together to tackle the pollution that threatens all our lives, particularly our children.”

According to Public Health England, Newham has one of the highest rates for deaths attributable to air quality with seven out of every 100 deaths linked to dirty air.

 

“London’s toxic air is directly harming the health of our children,” said Khan. “Working with boroughs like Newham we are determined to do everything in our power to protect them and ensure future generations breathe cleaner, healthier air.”

 

“In Newham we have one of the youngest populations in the country coupled with some of the worst air quality,” added Rokhsana Fiaz, mayor of Newham.

 

“We also have the highest number of children admitted to hospital due to asthma-related conditions. That is why it is absolutely critical that we work together to tackle the pollution that threatens all our lives, particularly our children.”

 

Beyond mitigating the worst effects of poor air quality, Newham is also funding a project called Newham Climate Now which over the coming months and years aims to help clean the local environment and tackle climate change.

 

To help tackle air pollution, London has already put in place the world’s first ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) which, reportedly, has already reduced harmful nitrogen dioxide pollution by almost one third in the central London zone.

 

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