London’s most polluted schools to be given air-quality audits

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Mayor Sadiq Khan announces first 50 schools to undergo audits to help identify measures to minimise the impact of pollution on children

Mayor Sadiq Khan announces first 50 schools to undergo audits to help identify measures to minimise the impact of pollution on children

Wednesday 13 September 2017

The most polluted schools in London are to be audited as part of the mayor’s drive to clean up toxic air across the capital.

Earlier this year a Guardian investigation revealed that hundreds of thousands of children and toddlers are being exposed to illegal levels of damaging air pollution from diesel vehicles at schools and nurseries.

Sadiq Khan said on Wednesday that air pollution was “the biggest public health emergency of a generation”. He announced the first 50 schools to undergo a pollution audit, and said the results would be followed by “hard-hitting measures” to minimise the damage being done to children.

“It is shameful that children across London are breathing in toxic air simply by going to and from school and I am determined to do everything in my power to safeguard their health.

“These air quality audits are a big step towards helping some of the most polluted schools in London identify effective solutions to protect pupils from toxic fumes but, of course, this is only part of the solution.”

The audits will be completed by the end of the year and recommendations may include:

The Guardian’s investigation used the government’s own pollution modelling from 2015 to identify the scale of the problem. It found that pollution from diesel traffic was not limited to large metropolitan centres but threatened the health of children and young people in towns and cities across England and Wales.

Khan said today’s move was part of a package of measures his administration was pursuing.

“Next month, I will be launching my T-charge to rid central London of the oldest, most polluting vehicles and before the end of the year I will be announcing a decision on my plans to bring forward and extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone along some of our busiest roads.”

He claimed he was “making great strides in London” but said ministers must do more. “The government must match my ambition in tackling the biggest public health emergency of a generation.”

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