Camden primary schools included in Sadiq Khan’s plan to tackle air pollution

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Credit: Ken Mears

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Credit: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

The Mayor of London has been applauded for tackling pollution in Camden after three of the borough’s primary schools were included in the first wave of ‘air quality audits’.

As part of Sadiq Khan’s plan to protect schools in the worst polluted areas in London, the audits – funded by £250,000 from the mayor’s air quality fund and conducted by global engineering consultancy WSP – will identify measures to protect pupils’ health from toxic air.

Earlier this year it was revealed that there are more than 800 educational institutions in the capital where pupils as young as three are being exposed to levels of nitrogen dioxide that exceed the EU legal limit.

Mr Khan wants Whitehall introduce a clean air act or a diesel scrappage scheme to take polluting cars off the road, but both of these could take considerable time.

Gospel Oak Primary School – chosen alongside Netley and Christopher Hatton primary schools to take part in the pilot – has had no face-to-face meetings about why it was chosen to take part in the audit, but headteacher John Hayes is keen to find out more.

“I was quite surprised that our school was chosen as we are in a very green area close to Hampstead Heath where you can see trees in every direction,” he said.

“Judging by the reports it seems that traffic around the school could be the issue. Mansfield Road is fairly busy, but it is not a dual carriageway.

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“While Savernake Road is busy during rush hour, but is virtually unused during the middle of the day, so I will be very interested to hear more about the findings.”

Barnet and Camden Assembly Member Andrew Dismore said: “There is a lot of evidence showing that air quality can have a long-term detrimental impact on the health of our children. It’s great to see that the mayor is taking genuine steps to tackle the impact of toxic air on children in Camden, and I hope this audit is just the start.

“I welcome further measures taken by the mayor to clean up the capital’s air, including the introduction of the T-charge and plans to extend the ultra-low emission zone.

“We now need the government to follow his lead and take steps to tackle London’s toxic air, not least by introducing a new clean air act and a diesel scrappage scheme.”