Trees for Cities has teamed up with Mapping for Change and Lancaster University to launch an innovative new programme called “Planting Healthy Air in Schools”. This will help improve the air quality and outdoor experience of children and teachers in some of London’s most polluted schools.
Through Planting Healthy Air in Schools, Trees for Cities will test green infrastructure, design and planting techniques to screen airborne pollution. The project will redesign parts of the playground where air quality is particularly poor. By planting trees and other vegetation to filter out airborne pollutants, as well as creating woodland shelters and wildlife areas, the projects will create greener, healthier playgrounds for outdoor learning and play.
With help from the pupils, Mapping for Change and Lancaster University will monitor how pollution levels change over the course of 12 months by measuring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter. Lancaster University will also advise on the type and location of green infrastructure such as vegetation screens, planters and trees, and evaluate the effectiveness of the planting in reducing pollution.
Mapping for Change will deliver a behaviour-change citizen science programme within the schools. The children will play an active role in collecting the NO2 sample tubes, mapping and tracking pollutant levels, and will learn more about the positive impacts of urban greening through a range of workshops and assemblies delivered by Trees for Cities. This will empower the children to make changes in their playtime behaviours and routines to reduce their exposure to pollution.
This year, the programme will work with three primary schools in London, each of which are situated near busy roads (Marylebone High Road, A13 and the North Circular) where air pollution levels are known to exceed EU standards:
– Christ Church Bentinck CE Primary School, London Borough of Westminster
– Woolmore Primary School, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
– Tudor Primary School, London Borough of Barnet
Planting Healthy Air was first launched at St Paul’s CE Primary School in Hammersmith, pictured above. This project recently won a prestigious London Tree and Woodland Award.
Planting Healthy Air projects this year are funded by the Mayor of London, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Tower Hill Trust and MOJU.