Walking Zone project – Air Quality awareness in Finsbury Park / Manor House schools

Stroud Green Primary (Haringey), Parkwood Primary (Hackney) and Grafton Primary in Islington have now finished the “Walking Zone” project where each school created air quality maps in guided workshops, held pupil-led assemblies, and ran on-street campaigns.

Their aim was to create a modal shift away from car travel for the school run, and an increase in awareness of pupils of the air pollution issues and protection strategies.

As I linked to here – The best way to teach adults to save energy might be through their children – children will bring the message into homes better than adults will (harnessing ‘pester power’!)

The mapping workshops focused on creating a 5 – 10 minute walking zone and healthy exercise map for each school and culminated in a final orienteering event for all 3 schools starting at the Islington Ecology Centre. Throughout the project the schools were also filmed, so that this could be used to promote active travel after the project was finished.  Each school received 3 workshops, followed by a pupil led assembly and on-street campaign.

Manor House Air Quality Project – PWLC Cut from Andrew Davies on Vimeo.

The schools received walking zone banners, walking zone booklets for each pupil, and stickers for each pupil to promote their map.

The Walking Zone project was actually a follow-up to the 2014/15 “Air Quality” project in which the 3 schools and 6 other schools had:

  • a launch assembly
  • lessons in testing the air quality and analysing the data citizen-science style
  • literacy lessons to create campaign materials to inform the school and wider community about air pollution and protection strategies
  • final pupil show and tell assembly
  • on-street campaigning
  • competition to design posters to go on to the final banner – each school received two air quality banners

The 2015 Air Quality project used lessons, workshops, citizen science activities and assemblies to:

  • Raise awareness of the risks of air pollution
  • Engage pupils in local air quality monitoring
  • Identify how students can protect themselves
  • Help pupils and families know what they can do to reduce their own impact on air quality, in particular with regard to changing travel behaviour
  • Improve the schools travel plan and contribute to STARS accreditation

Some of the data is summarised in the report AQ Project Exec Summary Dec ’15

Funding for both projects was made available through the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund (https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/pollution-and-air-quality/mayors-air-quality-fund), to support schemes ranging from infrastructure through to education/ behaviour change. The 3 local authorities had bid jointly to the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, focusing on the Manor House and Finsbury Park area.

I need to dig around a bit to find out what plans there are to keep up the momentum on this, especially interesting considering the new Mayor appears to be taking the whole air quality in London issue a lot more seriously.