The City of London Corporation was honoured in the 2018 National Air Quality News Awards for its collaboration on air quality with Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School.
The National Air Quality Awards celebrate the successes of industry, local authorities, transport and technology providers in driving down air pollution and improving air quality.
The awards received 80 entries by 30 organisations and individuals nominated across nine award categories.
The collaboration between the City Corporation and the school began in 2003 with the installation of a 24-hour air quality monitoring station in the playground.
Policies brought in to improve air quality include planting air quality plants throughout the school grounds, green walls made from ivy screens, new air filtration units in classrooms and teaching pupils how to reduce their exposure to air pollution.
In April, new research revealed air pollution at the school fell below the legal annual limit for the first time since monitoring began in 2003. The data, gathered by the City of London Corporation and verified by King’s College London, showed that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) fell below annual limits in 2017. Levels of particles of PM10 and PM2.5 continue to be below government limits.
The City Corporation has transformed the local area with the removal of the Aldgate gyratory system, the planting of 71 trees and the creation of a new community space called Aldgate Square. Pedestrian access and cycling routes have been improved and traffic closed at the junction of Middlesex Street and St Botolph Street.
Jeremy Simons, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee, said:
“This award is testament to all the staff who have worked so tirelessly to improve air quality at the school.
“Together we are dedicated to keeping the school safe, healthy and with good air quality for all its pupils.
“By working in partnership with developers, car private hire firms, charities and local authorities we will continue to take important steps towards clean air in the Square Mile.”
Miss Alex Allan, Headteacher of Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School, said:
“It is fantastic that the hard work of so many people to improve the quality of life of our children is recognised.
“Much work and many gains have been made. But we need to continue in our dedication to improving air quality so that our children can grow up to be as healthy as possible.”
The work with Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary forms part of the City Corporation’s wider fightback against air pollution. It works with businesses through its CityAir Programme whilst leading a London-wide crackdown on drivers who leave their engines idling. This year, the City Corporation launched a clean air cargo bike delivery scheme which helps the Square Mile’s businesses tackle toxic air pollution by shifting deliveries from diesel and petrol vans to cargo bicycles.
The City Corporation’s CityAir app provides over 27,000 Londoners with low pollution travel routes across the capital, with advice and alerts when air pollution is high.
And in 2016 it agreed a deal with Addison Lee – London’s biggest private hire taxi firm – to automatically switch hybrid taxis to ‘electric mode’ in key areas of the Square Mile. The City Corporation has banned the purchase of diesel vehicles from its own fleet of 300 vehicles, where there is a clean market alternative.
It has also introduced a City-wide 20mph zone, and its new procurement rules have brought in tight restrictions on harmful emissions from bulldozers and generators.
The City Corporation will run a pilot scheme at the southern section of Moor Lane which will allow access to ultra-low emission vehicles only. It is currently running a feasibility study on the trial. Following the study the authority will publicly consult on options for delivering the scheme in Autumn and the pilot will be delivered by April 2019.