Almost every London school is in an area where air pollution levels exceed World Health Organisation limits, a City Hall analysis suggests.
According to the 2016- 2020 report, the average concentration of particulate matter was a third higher at schools in London than in the rest of England.
Figures show 98 per cent of schools are in areas with toxic air quality, compared with 24 per cent outside the capital.
Across England, 3.1m schoolchildren are affected, with excessive levels of air pollution able to stunt lung growth and worsen chronic diseases.
4,300 premature deaths in London were due to long-term exposure to small particles, in 2008, City Hall estimated.
Mark Bouldin, Clean Air Expert, Johnson Controls UK&I commented:
“Education leaders are right to be concerned about the air quality in schools as they plan for the new academic year. We encourage the Government to revisit its plans for creating a safe learning environment for both staff and pupils with the concerns of a rise in Covid infections which could peak when schools open in the Autumn.”
“From our recent research, creating and maintaining a standard for air quality can improve productivity by 11%, meaning students can learn faster and accelerate the growth of the UK economy in the long-term. We also urge education leaders to look into disinfection, filtration, isolation and monitoring alongside ventilation when they build their clean air strategy.”
Despite this, throughout the UK the number of state primary and secondary schools in areas exceeding legal limits for NO2fell from 455 in 2016 to 14 in 2019. A reduction of 97 per cent.
From October, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is set to expand from central London to areas of the North Circular and South Circular roads.
The ULEZ is central to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s plans to improve Londoners’ toxic air.
Khan told the BBC:
“I’m doing everything in my power to stop young Londoners breathing air so filthy that it damages their lungs and causes thousands of premature deaths every year.”