Air Pollution and Schools

MQT on 2018-11-22
Session date: 
November 22, 2018
Question By: 
Jennette Arnold OBE
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


What is the Mayor's Office doing to improve air pollution levels at schools recognised as suffering the highest levels of air pollution in London?


Air Pollution and Schools
Air Pollution and Schools

Air Pollution and Schools

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I am concerned about poor air quality around London’s schools. Breathing in dirty air can affect children’s health and well-being. That is why I have developed a ‘schools audits’ approach which I have successfully trialed at 50 primary schools in the city’s most polluted areas. I also provide information on periods of moderate, high and very high pollution to schools through my air quality alerts system. The alerts go to all primary and secondary schools in London, other than those who have opted out.

My audits, which have assessed air pollution around schools, have made recommendations that can help protect students from exposure to poor air quality. Proposed measures, where feasible, include pedestrianisation around school entrances and exits, improving indoor ventilation, using green infrastructure to shield playgrounds and encouraging walking and cycling.

I want every school that needs an audit to have one and I’ve developed a toolkit to enable boroughs to deliver audits at other schools and a Schools’ Forum to share best practice. To support these efforts boroughs are now able to use TfL Local Implementation Plan (LIP) funding. In 2018/19 a total of £237 million has been budgeted to help boroughs manage their streets (including LIP funding).

I’ve announced a total of £1.05 million in additional funding for schools and nurseries. This includes £10,000 to each of the 50 audited schools to implement some of the recommendations straight away – while they work with their local borough on implementing wider recommendations. I have asked boroughs to match this funding. Any school located in a polluted area has also been able to apply for greening funding through my Greener City Fund. My funding includes £250,000 for my new nurseries audit programme which will also look at indoor air quality and trial indoor air filtration.

Regarding new schools in London, these should not be built where there is high exposure to air pollution. I have set out in my answer to Mayor's Question 2018/3051 how my London Plan will ensure that new schools are only built in suitable locations.

I am also introducing the world’s first ever ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in central London this April, to encourage removing older polluting vehicles from London’s roads or face a charge to enter the zone. This is expected to result in a 45% reduction in nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions within the zone in 2020, significantly improving the air around schools within the zone. I will expand the ULEZ to the Inner London boundary, which is predicted to result in further improvements in air quality; leading to a 28% reduction in NOx road transport emissions in outer London and around a 31% reduction in NOx road transport emissions in inner London in 2021.