Mayor of London joins Formula E driver in visit to Salisbury Primary School
PUBLISHED: 16:56 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:59 21 January 2020
Photography by Ken Mears
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Formula E driver Sam Bird visited Salisbury Primary School to find out about the work being done to improve air quality in one of Newham's most polluted areas.
A group of Year 5 pupils gave a presentation on air quality and how an audit carried out by City Hall led to changes at the High Street North, Manor Park school.
Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz joined Mr Khan in listening to the pupils talk about how one of the playgrounds has been relocated away from Romford Road to reduce the exposure to harmful emissions.
Salisbury was one of two schools in the borough to be among the 50 most polluted in the capital and as such, was given funding to help make changes. As well as moving the playground, a green wall was installed to absorb pollutants.
Newham Council has since committed to extend air quality audits to all primary and secondary schools, targeting clean air initiatives.
Asked about how his bid to make London greener fits in with the decision to approve the construction of the Silvertown tunnel, Mr Khan said: "I think it's very important to understand what the community here faces.
"The Blackwall tunnel is shut 700 times a year. Silvertown will relieve that."
He added that the new tunnel would fall within the ultra-low emission zone, and that 37 buses an hour would go through, providing better public transport links than the single bus route that uses the Blackwall tunnel.
During the visit on Tuesday, January 21, the two mayors also met British racing driver Sam Bird, who will be competing at the ExCeL in July.
The Envision Virgin Racing driver, currently third in the electric motor racing championship, spoke to pupils about the series and about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles.
"These children, in 10 or 15 years time, will be driving electric cars," he said.
"We're working hard to engage with those affected worst by pollution, particularly in the cities we race in.
"It was really inspiring to see that this topic is so important to the next generation too."
Mr Khan added: "It's so exciting that Formula E is coming to the Royal Docks.
"Children will be inspired to be engineers, or to work in Formula E. They might even be the next Sam Bird."