Mayor of London launches new School Pollution Helpdesk

Sadiq Khan has launched a new Schools Pollution Helpdesk, offering schools in London a free to use service to help them improve air quality. 

In partnership with the environmental charities Global Action Plan and Impact on Urban Health, the helpdesk will support schools across the capital to deliver air quality audits.

Audit recommendations may include options such as closing surrounding roads during pick-up and drop-off times, walking and scooting campaigns, adding green infrastructure and tackling engine idling. 

From today (February 22), schools can contact the helpdesk by phone, email, online forms or by text to ask for advice. The website will also be a source of information, offering signposting to the best resources and case studies for schools.

This new helpdesk builds on the Mayor’s School and Nursery Air Quality Audits Programme which has delivered audits at 50 schools and 20 nurseries across London’s most polluted areas.

The Mayor provided £10,000 per school and £4,500 per nursery to help them implement measures.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ’I am doing everything in my power to stop Londoners breathing air so filthy that it damages children’s lungs and causes thousands of premature deaths every year.

‘There is also evidence linking air pollution with an increased vulnerability to the most severe impacts of COVID-19. The Ultra Low Emission Zone has already helped cut toxic roadside nitrogen dioxide pollution by more than 40% and led to reductions that are five times greater than the national average.

‘Since 2016, there has been a 97% reduction in the number of schools in areas which exceed the legal limit, and I’m committed to bringing that number down to zero which is why I’ve launched the London Schools Pollution Helpdesk to help schools continue to tackle air pollution and funded the anti-idling campaign.

‘Pollution isn’t just a central London problem, which is why I am committed to expanding the ULEZ next year. I have also consistently demanded that the Government match my ambitions and improve the new Environment Bill to include legally binding WHO recommended limits to be achieved by 2030, and to give cities the powers and funding we need to eradicate air pollution.’

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Peter Murtagh
Peter Murtagh
3 years ago

I really hope this succeeds. My own experience is rather different . In October 2020 , my local authority announced in a blaze of newspaper publicity a ’30 reasons to switch off’ campaign, with photographs of banners outside of a school. Not the one next door to me, where parents will idle for up to 80 minutes. Yes. 80 minutes. Or the four schools within 2 miles of where I live . So I sent an FOI . I asked how many schools were involved, across the whole authority and in particularly my town. I received the response that the information I required “is not recorded in our database and is not readily retrievable” though the project leader estimated between 4 and 7 primary schools. 4 or 7 out of 121 primary schools. (2 /20 Secondary) .And no accurate records, and no criteria for selecting and no criteria for assessing the success. In the last year, 30 manpower hours were allocated for Environmental Health Officers to visit and enforce. In a year ? I can only hope your authority is far better organised and not simply paying lip service .

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