Mayor of London launches school pollution helpdesk

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched the new London Schools Pollution Helpdesk - a free to use service for all London schools for advice, alongside a website which will be a source of information on air pollution, offering the best resources and case studies for schools.

This builds on the Mayor’s School and Nursery Air Quality Audits Programme which has delivered audits at 50 schools and 20 nurseries across the capital’s most polluted areas. The Mayor provided £10,000 per school and £4,500 per nursery in funding to help them implement measures. A study by researchers from Imperial College London’s Environmental Research Group, commissioned by City Hall, has found that the Mayor’s air quality policies and wider improvements in air pollution will increase the average life expectancy of a child born in London in 2013 by six months.

In partnership with environment charity Global Action Plan and Impact on Urban Health, the London Schools Pollution Helpdesk will support schools across the capital to deliver air quality audits and will prioritise the remaining schools in areas of London still exceeding or nearly exceeding legal pollution levels. Audit recommendations for cutting pollution could include closing surrounding roads to traffic at school pick-up and drop-off times, walking and scooting campaigns, adding green infrastructure like green screens and tackling engine idling.

In addition, Global Action Plan will be co-ordinating the Schools Forum developed to support the audit programme and share best practice. The charity recently launched the Clean Air Schools Framework that helps any school to work out which air pollution actions are best for them. It provides guidance and resources to help implement the plan, building on the knowledge from the Mayor’s audit programme and will complement the London Schools Pollution Helpdesk.

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