Southwark Council helps schools cut air pollution on Clean Air Day

17 June 2021

Southwark Council is rolling out school air quality audits to help improve the air around schools, this Clean Air Day (17 June). The audits take a look at each school and generate bespoke recommendations for action that could improve air quality in the locality. Councillor Helen Dennis joined Kate Wooder, Executive Head at the Bridges Federation, and Zohra Benotmane, Co-Head at Snowsfields Primary School and children from the school for their air quality audit.

All schools in areas where air pollution exceeds EU limits in Southwark, be they primary, secondary or specialist, will have access to a Southwark Council funded, or discounted, air quality audits. Further to this, the council has committed to helping participating schools to achieve their audit recommendations, with a grant of £5000.

Southwark Council invited Fix a Bike mechanics to the playground at Snowsfields, where they delivered training that supports safe cycling. The mechanics showed Snowsfields children how to fix and maintain their bikes. The children also learned about route planning, air pollution and the benefits of sustainable travel.

Snowsfields School has been working with the council and progressing through the TfL STARS (Sustainable Travel: Active, Responsible, Safe) programme. They are currently working towards Gold Accreditation.

Cllr Helen Dennis, Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency and Sustainable Development, said: “The children, staff and parents at Snowsfields Primary are pulling together and working to make their school a cleaner, safer and greener place.

“We are delighted to offer continued support along their journey to cleaner air. Our air quality audit will help by producing a roadmap that will enable them build on their achievements and progress even further.

“Snowsfields, alongside many other Southwark schools, demonstrates how we must work together to create a better shared environment, both now, and for future generations.”

Kate Wooder, Executive Head at the Bridges Federation, and Zohra Benotmane, Co-Head at Snowsfields Primary School, said: “At Snowsfields, we are fortunate to be within walking distance of fantastic central London landmarks, allowing pupils to have a well-rounded, hands on education. However, we are located in an area where air pollution levels are particularly high, presenting a significant risk to the health and well-being of our school community. 

“Successful Travel Plans have ensured that our children enjoy the health, social and environmental benefits of travelling to school safely. We have increased the capacity of the school bike sheds to encourage more children to cycle. We now have around 95 per cent of our families travelling to school either walking or cycling. As part of our science curriculum this term, the whole school will be focussing on air quality. This will equip pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to become responsible members of society, dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint. The upcoming air audit organised by Southwark Council is a further demonstration of our commitment to the issue and consequently the safety of our children.”

Page last updated: 17 June 2021