Newham's schools to get air quality monitors in UK 'first'
PUBLISHED: 07:25 23 July 2019
Air quality monitors are to be rolled out to the borough's schools in a UK "first" aimed at tackling the climate emergency.
Newham Council is putting the devices in 96 primaries and secondaries including academies in a bid to help tackle dirty air in a move costing about £25,000 a year.
Cllr Mas Patel, the local authority's commissioner for air quality and climate change, said: "We are the first local authority in the country to install air quality monitors in all our schools and this should be seen as a mark of our determination to tackle poor air quality.
"Public Health England confirm that Newham has the largest number of deaths attributable to air quality - seven out of every 100.
"Under this administration that is going to change. There is no time to waste.
"We are acting now to protect our schoolchildren, and over the coming months we will reveal our plans to protect every resident from the perils of dirty air."
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The new devices measuring nitrogen dioxide form one of the local authority's first steps towards combating the area's contribution to global warming, poor air quality and waste.
The readings will be used to focus the council's efforts on improving air quality around schools suffering the worst pollution.
The council expects to instal them during the holidays and the first results should be available from October.
Louis Martin from the campaign group Fossil Free Newham (FFN), said: "It's great Newham is taking steps towards a safer, more sustainable borough. We hope also to see the council take a more vocal stand against fossil fuel companies, bringing to a halt all investments in companies like Shell and ExxonMobil."
FFN's Karine Adandedjan added: "We need our leaders to be vocal against the Silvertown tunnel and London City Airport as these will lead to emissions going up, not down."
Newham opposes the Silvertown tunnel and the Newham pension fund has reduced its exposure to fossil fuels from four per cent in 2016 to 1.2pc at in 2018.
Newham's air quality action plan is to go before council cabinet members on November 5 following consultations with the public, City Hall and government.
The local authority declared a climate emergency - a commitment to act against changes to the planet's weather - in April.