ULEZ: Scientists to study impact of air pollution on children's brains

Heavy traffic in London

Heavy traffic in London - Credit: PA/ Dominic Lipinski

Date will be gathered from schools in Camden, Islington, Westminster and Hackney to look at the impact of air pollution on children’s mental health and brain development.

Researchers at Queen Mary University London have been allocated £300,000 to study the affect of the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) on children’s brain functioning.

The funding has been provided by the Barts Charity and the Mayor of London.

The Children’s Health in London and Luton (Chill) Cognition study will run for three years and look at whether better air quality improves brain development.

Between 2018 and 2020, the Ulez resulted in roadside nitrogen dioxide reducing by almost one third.

Children’s abilities will be measured through assessment of computer-based tasks to test skills such as problem solving and memory recall. It will also consider whether any apparent boost to brain development has an impact on children’s mental health through a series of questionnaires.

The study will gather data from 85 primary schools in Luton and the London boroughs of Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lambeth, Westminster, Camden, Islington and the City.