Planting Healthy Air In Schools

Redesigning areas of school playgrounds where air quality is particularly poor using green infrastructure and planting techniques can be an effective barrier to the flow of toxic air pollution.

2,000
Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

Planting Healthy Air in Schools has been developed to address London’s poor air quality and the detrimental effects this has, particularly on children. The capital’s trees remove an estimated 2,241 tonnes of pollution each year, making them a particularly effective barrier to the flow of toxic air.

The programme involves redesigning areas of the playground where air quality is particularly poor, including planting trees and other vegetation and creating woodland shelters and wildlife areas to help create greener, healthier playgrounds for outdoor learning and play.

With help from pupils, Mapping for Change and Lancaster University we are monitoring how pollution levels change over the course of 12 months by measuring nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. Lancaster University are also advising on the type and location of green infrastructure such as vegetation screens, planters and trees, and helping to evaluate the effectiveness of the planting in reducing pollution. Mapping for Change are delivering a citizen science programme within the schools, getting the kids fully involved in the pollution monitoring from the outset.

We are currently in pilot stage, testing different types of green infrastructure and planting techniques in three London schools. This programme is currently only open to primary schools in London. If you are involved with a school that is known to have particularly high air pollution levels that exceed EU standards, demonstrable need for greening of your playground and a motivated senior leadership team, then please contact us.

What have you learnt that others will find most useful?

  • Specific learnings will be shared more widely after test programmes have finished and results analysed. We are testing the effectiveness of green infrastructure, design and planting techniques for screening airborne pollution in school playgrounds with localised very poor air quality.

Measures of success?

We are monitoring how pollution levels change over the course of 12 months by measuring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM).

Read more: https://www.treesforcities.org/our-work/schools-programme/planting-healthy-air-in-schools-1

Anette Lien
Planting Healthy Air In Schools