Welcome to our collection of case studies! The stories listed below showcase some of the schools across the UK taking action against air pollution. We look forward to sharing more case studies with you as we hear from schools that have completed the framework and implemented their Clean Air Action Plans.
Are you one of these schools? We'd love to hear from you about any of the actions you've implemented - your story could feature here! Get in touch with us at [email protected].
St Andrew's CE Primary School, London
At St Andrew’s CE Primary School in Lambeth, Mrs Coward, Head of School said "The school community were concerned about the air pollution getting into the school site and affecting the staff and students’ health. The school is within very close proximity to major traffic-heavy roads, including the A3 and A203. Also, on one side of the site, which includes a playground and classrooms, there was only a mesh wire fence separating it from the road."
As part of the Lambeth Schools Air Quality programme, Headteacher Heather Coward identified that improving the school’s boundary with a green screen could reduce the concentration of air pollution in the classrooms and playground on the school-side of the barrier, as well as improving privacy within the playground area, therefore enhancing the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff and students. Mrs Coward also recognised the need to raise awareness about air pollution amongst the school community; to empower families to protect their health and the environment. The eco-group came together to help the staff drive this, by running awareness raising assemblies and an anti-idling campaign (click here to see what they did).
The school worked closely with Arup, who helped identify the most appropriate contractor to install the green screen; based on the space, maintenance requirements and the school’s specific needs. Arup also liaised with the local council’s planning department to check whether any planning permissions were required (in this instance, planning permission was not necessary). The process and important learnings have been outlined on p. 12-15 of the Air Quality in Schools Intervention Toolkit. In this document, you can find helpful information about types of green screens, maintenance considerations, costs, timescales, implementation steps, benefits and things to watch out for.
The University of Surrey carried out a study in the school to measure the impact of this intervention. The study showed that the installation of a green screen at the front boundary of the school close to a busy road gave reductions in the concentrations of a type of air pollution called particulate matter of up to 44% during cross-wind conditions (i.e. when the wind was blowing from the road, through the hedges, towards the school grounds). It is important to note that exposure reductions can vary depending on the relative location of the school to the pollutant source, such as traffic on a busy road as well as the local wind directions. Therefore, green screens at different school premises are likely to show varied levels of changes in pollution concentrations and advice from an air quality professional should be sought to determine the most appropriate positioning. Furthermore, as the green screens become mature, denser, and thicker with time, they are likely to result in greater pollutant exposure reduction.
The school are now very happy with their new green screen. Mrs Coward, Head of School at St Andrew's C of E School said "We've wanted to put a green screen in for a long time, so we were very excited to finally see it in place! The staff, parents and children all love the new addition - it's not only improved the air quality at our school but the greenery also gives the school community a nicer playground environment, more privacy and gives us more learning opportunities too."
Take a look at p. 12-15 of the Air Quality in Schools Intervention Toolkit.
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