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200 London schools to have air filters installed in classrooms

Sadiq Khan, has announced a pilot project which will see air filters installed into some of London’s most polluted schools.

PM2.5 filters will be fitted in every classroom in 200 schools across London. If successful, the pilot project could lead to this being expanded to cover every school in London.

woman standing in front of children

The schools in the pilot will be selected based on pollution levels, as well as those in more deprived areas and will be spread evenly across London.

Research is currently underway to determine what sort of air filters will be used. This is due to be completed in May, with the first filters installed in pilot schools to later in the year.

The Mayor’s office says that these could ‘include models which filter the air using fans and replaceable filter cartridges which trap the tiny toxic particles as the air circulates.’

The £2.7m funding – from the Mayor’s 2024/25 budget – will also pay for school engagement, educational materials, monitoring the impact of the programme and maintenance of the filters.

In 2016, there were 793 schools in London suffering from illegal levels of NO2, by 2019 (the most recent year for which data is available) this had fallen to 50.

Despite this success, most schools in London still exceed the WHO guideline for PM2.5.

In a separate initiate, pollution audits and clean air measures have already taken place at 50 schools and 20 nurseries across the capital’s most polluted areas and the London Schools Pollution Helpdesk provides free support, advice, and practical guidance to help improve air quality at schools

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah CBE said: ‘As a London school teacher, I know the difference that having a safe and healthy environment in the classroom, can have on children’s learning and on their broader health.

‘Children are most affected by breathing in air pollution, and the devastating effects on their health are not always shown. But the evidence tells us that breathing toxic air stunts their cognitive development, their hearts, lungs, brains and causes conditions such as asthma, which is still killing between eight and twelve children in London every year. We must do more to clean up the air for our children.

‘All children regardless of where they live or what school they go to, have a right to breathe clean air and I hope all London’s schools will have similar filters fitted to the ones announced today.’

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘Alongside parents and teachers, I want every single child to breathe clean air in and around their school. In those vital early years, the difference to young people’s health and wellbeing can be lifechanging.’

Daniel Kebede, General Secretary of the National Education Union, said: ‘This is a forward-thinking commitment from the Mayor of London which will be of massive benefit to pupils and staff in London schools and an example that should be taken up more widely across the country.’

Andrea Carneveli, Founder of Chiswick Oasis said: ‘In June 2019, we had the honour of giving Sadiq Khan a tour of our school, St Mary’s Catholic School in Chiswick, showcasing the remarkable impact of our newly installed air purifiers, which successfully reduced pollution levels by approximately 94 per cent. To see now how 200 schools will be able to follow in our footsteps and provide children with cleaner air to breathe brings immense joy as a parent and fills me with renewed optimism for our future.’



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