Green fund to cut playground pollution


LONDON: Around £400,000 has been awarded to 29 London primary schools to fund new green barriers to protect children from toxic air in school playgrounds.

In addition to the green barriers for schools, the Mayor’s £1.27m green fund will also fund a project to rejuvenate the garden of the popular Slade Gardens Adventure Playground in Brixton; as well as 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 be beneficial to boosting air quality and reducing exposure to harmful emissions from busy roads. A recent report by the Air Quality Expert Group found a ‘green barrier’ between cars and pedestrians can halve the levels of pollution behind the barrier.

At Slade Gardens in Brixton, nearly £20k will support a project working with young people who have behavioural and emotional difficulties, and will create a community garden hub where local people will be able to grow food and flowers through structured volunteering and education.

As well as the grants, the Mayor has published two new maps that detail London’s green spaces and waterways and can be used to help identify where greater investment in greening would bring significant benefits.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, 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. This will complement our drive to reduce vehicle emissions across the capital, including the introduction of the 24-hour Central London Ultra Low Emission Zone in April, and cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet. The new water ways, wildlife habitats and community gardens we are creating will help London maintain its status as one of the greenest world cities as we work towards becoming a National Park City this summer.”

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