Chiswick Parents Demand Action On Playground Toxic Air

Mayor's report finds local primary schools are located in pollution 'hot spot'

ruth cadbury and staff and governors and parents at st marys catholic primary school Head teacher Joan Hart, school governors, and parents during a recent meeting with MP Ruth Cadbury on the issue

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Parents from St. Mary’s Primary School, Chiswick have called upon The Mayor of London, Hounslow Council and Transport for London (TfL) to take immediate action to stem the illegal levels of air pollution in and around St Mary’s Catholic primary school. It follows a report from The Mayor’s office, which indicated the school is situated in one of London’s worst pollution hot-spots.

The report, which also examined air pollution levels around William Hogarth School and Cavendish Primary, found that all three were experiencing high levels of pollution, mainly due to the proximity of busy main roads. In the case of St Mary's approximately 47,300 vehicles per day travel on the core roads within a 200m radius of the school, which the report said was is within the upper quartile for traffic volumes amongst the 50 schools assessed as part of the programme.

Andrea Carnevali from the St. Mary’s Air Pollution Group said:, "We welcome today’s report, however, the results of the audit at St Mary’s prove that action needs to be taken immediately to resolve the toxic air pollution in and around the school.

"Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of bad air as their lungs develop so we are calling on the Council to access funding from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund to immediately put in place measures to lower the illegal levels of Carbon monoxide and Nitrogen oxides as identified in the report.”

The consultant's audit of fifty selected London schools, including the three primary schools in Chiswick, ( as well as Ealing and Hammersmith, and central London ) was set up by the Mayor, Sadiq Khan last year to tackle the problem of polluted air in school grounds situated near busy roads. A £1 million fund has been announced which will provide each of the 50 audited schools with a £10,000 starter grant and enable any of the other London schools located in areas exceeding legal air pollution limits to apply for green infrastructure funding.

However, one member of the St Mary's group said that the amount pledged when divided between all schools, would not be a huge help.

traffic Hogarth Roundabout

Consultants WSP, who carried out the audit, have made recommendations to reduce emissions and exposure. They include:

-moving school entrances and play areas away from busy roads
-'no engine idling' schemes to reduce emissions from the school run
-reducing emissions from boilers, kitchens and other sources
-local road changes including better road layouts, restricting the most polluting vehicles around schools and pedestrianisation by school entrances
-adding green infrastructure like ‘barrier bushes’ along busy roads and in playgrounds to help filter fumes
-encouraging students to walk and cycle to school along less polluted routes.

The St Mary's parents’ group has already identified measures that can be immediately put in place to address the problem. These include the installation of air purifiers in the building and the erection of a living wall along the boundary with the offending A4 road.

Carnevali added “We have been encouraged by receiving support from local MP Ruth Cadbury, local councillors and other groups such as The Clean Air Campaign and Client Earth. We call on these groups and all concerned groups to not only get behind our efforts to put in place immediate measures to reduce pollution levels, but to lobby Transport for London to ensure the A4 road approaching the Hogarth roundabout is included in the Mayor’s proposal for expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

"Whilst the Mayor’s audit indicates that the road is included in the zone the inspectors seem to have missed the fact that the stretch of the A4 road from the North Circular to Hogarth roundabout (adjoining St Mary’s and Hogarth schools) is actually to be excluded. It is vehicles travelling and idling along this stretch of road that cause the vast majority of toxic air pollutants”

william hogarth school

The report on the William Hogarth Primary School (above) found approximately 26,000 vehicles per day travel on the core roads within a 200m radius of the school3 which is within the upper quartile (>75%) in terms of traffic volumes amongst of the 50 schools assessed as part of this programme. The report noted that the Early Years classrooms and playground are located at the more polluted southern end of the site.
Although there are shrubs and mature trees along sections of the southern perimeter, its proximity to the busy A4 mean these are the areas of greatest concern from an air pollution perspective.

cavendish primary school

You can also read the full report on Cavendish Primary School, which found that approximately 13,000 vehicles per day travel on the core roads within a 200m radius of the school. The worst exposure is at the north-western corner of the school site, as this is the closest area on
site to the A316, which is the biggest local source of emissions. The report recommended a Green Barrier as one of the measures to offset the pollution along with action on car-parking and emissions from the plant room flues.


May 24, 2018

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