The Mayor of London has awarded a green fund of more than £1.27m to help schools fight toxic air.
Projects include green ‘pollution barriers’ for schools that will help protect against pollution, plus new green spaces for housing estates, community gardens to help improve mental health and wildlife habitats in parks.
Greening playgrounds with climbing plants across entire walls, hedges, and wider green infrastructure can help boost air quality and reduce exposure to harmful emissions from busy roads.
The winning Community Green Space projects include help for 29 primary schools located next to some of London’s most polluted roads, which will receive a combined total of £400,000 for green infrastructure in playgrounds.
Marner Primary School in Bromley-by-Bow, Tower Hamlets, has been awarded £30,000 to transform its playground with a range of green measures to reduce emissions from the highly polluted A12 and nearby Devas Street.
The school will install ‘green screens’ of evergreen climbing plants, such as ivy, to create a ‘barrier’ wall between the playground and Devas Street. Further trees and hedgerows will be planted along the school perimeter, and a ‘green gateway’ will be created at the main entrance to encourage children to walk through a tunnel of evergreen plants.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “It is unacceptable that our filthy air is affecting the lung growth and respiratory health of our young children, especially those who go to school by busy, polluted roads. My funding will help create much needed new spaces for communities to enjoy and help reduce toxic pollution with green barriers in and around schools to protect our children from polluted air.”
Other developments include two new maps showing London’s green spaces and waterways which will be used to identify where greater investment in greening would bring significant benefits.
The projects are all part of the Mayor’s work to make London one of the greenest cities in the world and to become the first National Park City. The plan involves improving and increasing green spaces, cleaning the capital’s air, planting trees, reducing waste, and becoming zero-carbon by 2050.