Impact on Schools

CHILDREN ARE VULNERABLE. Research by health professionals has confirmed that children are especially vulnerable to air pollution. Their bodies are still developing and their lungs are more susceptible to damage by NO2 and PM 10 and PM 2.5 diesel particles.

“EVERY BREATH WE TAKE – The lifelong impact of air pollution” by Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health feb 2016”

AIR IN SCHOOLS IS NOT SAFE. Worryingly, the recently published 2010 report suppressed by the then London Mayor, Boris Johnson, shows pollution levels in London schools are way above the WHO SAFE limit of 20 ug/m3, and that most in inner London boroughs like Camden are also above the EU LEGAL limit of 40ug/m3.

RAISED POLLUTION LEVELS AROUND SCHOOLS. In some cases, pollution around schools is even higher than in that area generally – due to parents delivering and picking up their children by car.



THERE ARE HIGH LEVELS OF SCHOOL RUN TRAFFIC IN CAMDEN. Most primary schools generate some school run traffic, but in Camden much is centred on the large number of private schools in the Hampstead area of North Camden. The through routes and backways of Dartmouth Park, Gospel Oak, South End Green and Belsize Park, and around Finchley Road, are particularly affected, with high volumes of school run traffic running past other local schools and increasing air pollution for them.


PARENTS BE AIR AWARE! Many parents who take children to school by car believe that this protects them from breathing in polluted air on the pavement. But research has now established that some of the most polluted air is inside a car in slow moving traffic.

WE NEED TO FIND ALTERNATIVES TO THE CAR BASED SCHOOL RUN. It puts children at risk both inside and outside the car, leads to dangerously manoeuvring traffic just outside schools, limits children’s physical activity before and after school.

walk-to-school.jpgWalk to school ?








school-bus.jpgSet up new school bus routes ?








walking-bus.jpgOr a parent led walking bus?







SCHOOLS NEED TO TAKE ACTION! Some Camden schools are setting up pollution projects, where children undertake citizen science air monitoring in school grounds and outside spaces, and research the causes and solutions to the invisible air pollution of today – both toxic NO2 and diesel PM and climate changing carbon emissions.  Air pollution projects link into many areas of the National Curriculum and also develop children’s communication and advocacy skills.

artwork-by-pupils-small.jpgArtwork by pupils at Kentish Town Primary School Clean Air Act 1956-2016 anniversary in window of Flaxon Ptooch gallery in Kentish Town Road: ‘Why are we still waiting (for clean air)?



WE NEED TO CREATE A PLATFORM FOR CHILDREN’S VOICES – it’s their future that’s at stake. Give children a hearing and you will find them asking searching questions about how we got into the air pollution mess, and what those with power to change things are doing to protect children’s health and future well-being.


Camden school children speak up on air pollution






Why not look into setting up an air pollution project in YOUR child’s school. Learn from other school air pollution projects and from the air quality section of Camden Council’s website about how to get started – and the power of children’s voices.



kids helping with citizen science air monitoring