Ealing Council is investing almost £240,000 to improve air quality around local schools, as part of its ongoing commitment to tackling the climate crisis and creating a better borough for residents of all ages.
The funding will be used to install air quality monitoring devices to be used in local schools, which will use live data to help reduce harmful pollution. It will also help strengthen the council’s Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP), which is currently being developed in partnership with residents to reduce air pollution and improve health.
The investment will also support educational programmes for pupils, teachers and parents, which will focus on the impact of air pollution and traffic congestion on health – and highlight how positive actions such as walking, cycling and scooting on the school run can result in cleaner air.
Councillor Deirdre Costigan, cabinet member for climate action said: “London’s air pollution can be fatal and tragically, it contributed to up to more than 4,000 deaths across the capital in 2019 alone. Dirty air around our schools is rightly a serious concern for every family.
“That is why tackling air pollution is one of the council’s top priorities and I am delighted that we have secured this investment, which will go straight into educational and monitoring equipment in our schools and education on how to reduce pollution on the school run.
“Added to this we will shortly be consulting with residents on our new Air Quality Strategy and action plan so they can have their say and help us make it successful.”
Cutting air pollution is not only important for the health and wellbeing of residents, as Councillor Costigan continues: “Even a small vehicle running on petrol, can emit an average of more than 19 grams of CO2 a minute when its engine is on. It all adds up to a polluting cocktail filling the air we breathe,” she said.
“Tackling the climate crisis is a huge challenge and to be successful, we need to drastically cut the polluting gasses released from shorter car journeys – it’s vital for our key aim of achieving net zero for carbon emissions by 2030.
“This is why the council is doing everything possible to support residents to walk, cycle and scoot wherever possible, as an alternative to car travel.
“We are investing £10m into active travel initiatives as well as introducing more bike hangars and electric vehicle charge points and slashing the cost of bike hangar permits to the lowest in London. And of course our pledge to plant 50,000 more trees will also help to improve the air we breathe.”
School Streets mean cleaner air
A total of 17 School Streets are now in place across the borough with far more on their way as part of the council’s ongoing commitment to cut air pollution and support active forms of travel for children.
School Streets work by temporary closing roads to traffic around a school at its opening and closing times. They create a safer and more pleasant place for children to walk, cycle and scoot, and give parents the perfect opportunity to ditch the car on the school run.
Councillor Costigan continued: “We are investing £500,000 in the programme and our 17 current School Streets already benefit more than 8,000 pupils across the borough. But we want to do much more – so our target is 50 School Streets by 2026, which means we hope to deliver at least four new School Streets every six months.
“As well as cleaner air at the school gates, there is overwhelming evidence that active forms of travel have a hugely positive effect on pupils, both for physical and mental wellbeing, as well as on learning in the classroom.”
- The £237,502 funding comes from the government’s department of environment, farming and rural affairs (DEFRA).
- The council is also backing an ongoing, city-wide anti-idling campaign aimed at reducing the amount of unnecessary time people spend leaving their engines on.