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Two Redbridge schools awarded £10,000 each to tackle air pollution

PUBLISHED: 10:46 28 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:46 28 March 2019

Air pollution research. Photo: PA/Lewis Whyld

Air pollution research. Photo: PA/Lewis Whyld

PA Wire/PA Images

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Redbridge Council have awarded two of the borough's primary schools £10,000 each to cut harmful emissions.

Newbury Park’s William Torbitt Primary School, in Eastern Avenue, and South Woodford’s Oakdale Junior School, in Oakdale Road, have each been awarded cash from the Mayor’s clean air fund and the council.

The money will go towards installing air purifiers in classrooms to help protect against exposure to transport related air pollution.

This news comes as the latest Public Health England (PHE) figures reveals that long-term exposure to air pollution causes 6.7 out of 100 deaths in Redbridge residents aged over 30.

Clare Pike, William Torbitt’s interim headteacher, said: “This is an important step towards improving air quality and protecting the children from toxic air by eradicating it in school.

William Torbitt Primary School is one of two to be awarded funding from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Redbridge Council. Photo: Ken MearsWilliam Torbitt Primary School is one of two to be awarded funding from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Redbridge Council. Photo: Ken Mears

“The health and safety of our pupils is our priority and we are proud to be on board with this initiative.”

Associate headteacher Carley Smith, whose Oakdale Junior School is a stone’s throw from the heavily congested Charlie Brown’s roundabout, spoke of the school’s wider efforts to curb air pollution.

“Air quality is a big concern here at Oakdale,” she said.

“We’re working to combat this problem ourselves, by encouraging more sustainable travel options, campaigning to stop vehicle idling at the school gates and educating our pupils about their rights for clean air.”

Both schools were selected after independent experts spent three months at 50 schools across the capital assessing indoor and outdoor pollution sources before making a series of recommendations to protect pupils.

PHE figures indicate that the proportion of deaths caused by air pollution in Redbridge has slightly decreased since 2010, when seven in every 100 deaths were connected to a high presence of these particles in the air.

According to its estimate, 28,000 to 36,000 deaths a year in the UK could be attributed to long-term exposure to PM2.5 particles.

Professor Paul Cosford, medical director and director of health protection at PHE, said: “Transport and urban planners will need to work together with others involved in air pollution to ensure that new initiatives have a positive impact.”

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