Air pollution at City school falls below legal limits

New research reveals air pollution at Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School in the Square Mile has fallen 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, shows that levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) were below annual limits in 2017.

Levels of particles of PM10 and PM2.5 continue to be below government limits.

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 to reduce their exposure to air pollution.

The local area has been transformed with the removal of the unsightly Aldgate gyratory system, the planting of 71 trees and the creation of a new public 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:

“These results clearly show that our collaborative approach to improving air quality in the area is working.

“This achievement is a beacon highlighting what others can do to tackle air quality across London.

“It is one small step on the journey for clean air in the City. We are working with schools, developers, minicabs firms, charities and the capital’s local authorities to improve the air that Londoners breathe.”

Tim Wilson, Headteacher of Sir John Cass’s Foundation Primary School, said:

“We are pleased that our collaboration with the City Corporation has helped to improve the health and lives of our students.

“The measures taken at the school and education to reduce exposure have proven invaluable.”

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.


Notes to editors

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Media enquiries

Carl Locsin, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

T 020 7332 3654 / M 07388 862 229

E carl.locsin@cityoflondon.gov.uk