School Streets is a new initiative to close roads surrounding schools in London to traffic at drop off and pick up times, with the aim of improving the air quality children are exposed to on a daily basis.
Led by Air Quality Consultants Ltd, the study aims to tackle the issue of excessive air pollution in school areas in London boroughs head on. The monitoring programme, which was launched on Clean Air Day - 22 September 2020 – will run until late December 2020 and forms part of London’s world-leading Streetspace for London response to Coronavirus to reduce the risk of a damaging car-led recovery as Londoners return to school and work.
Data collected by Air Quality Consultants Ltd during this three-month study period will be added to the evidence base supporting the introduction of additional School Streets in London and more widely across the UK, with the aim of building a case to make temporary School Streets permanent.
Stephen Moorcroft, Director of Air Quality Consultants Ltd, confirmed the company’s commitment to the project by sharing: “As stated by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, at the project launch, ‘too many lives are already lost each year as a result of our city’s toxic air and the results of our monitoring study will show just how much of a difference reducing car journeys through School Streets makes’”.
Stephen added: “Our team is delighted to be leading this project, which is the first of its scale to have been undertaken. 430 new School Streets have been funded as part of the Streetspace plan, which further enables parents and children to walk and cycle to school, improves road safety and allows our future generations to benefit from improved air quality.”
To monitor the impact of the new School Streets initiative, 30 AQMesh sensors that record Nitrogen Dioxide levels have been installed at 18 schools in Brent, Lambeth and Enfield, where roads surrounding schools are being closed to traffic at drop-off and pick-up times. Half of these schools have recently introduced a School Street, and half have no restrictions on traffic and will act as control sites, enabling effective measurement of any air quality improvements in the two different environments.
Meanwhile, additional surveys will collect information on behaviour changes as a result of the new School Streets scheme, such as reduced car use by parents/carers, and an increased uptake of sustainable forms of transport such as walking and cycling.
Air Quality Consultants Ltd has overall responsibility for the air quality study in terms of site selection and commissioning, and subsequent data analysis, interpretation and reporting. The sensor installation and operation of the sites is being carried out by Air Monitors Ltd in association with partners from the Breathe London network.
The scheme has been co-funded by the FIA Foundation (a UK registered charity whose aim is to ensure ‘Safe, Clean, Fair and Green’ mobility for all), Bloomberg Philanthropies (a worldwide philanthropic organisation whose priority is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people), and the Greater London Authority.
Stephen concluded his statement on the launch of the scheme by saying: “We were pleased to hear the supportive comments from Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and Bloomberg LP, who are supporting the project and helping draw attention to this initiative. We are looking forward to a successful period of data collection over the next three months.”
More information about the School Streets air quality monitoring initiative can be found here.
If you would like to speak to the team at Air Quality Consultants Ltd about a best practice approach to your next environmental monitoring project, please get in touch on 020 3873 4780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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