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Schools and air quality

Air pollution is our residents’ number one concern, and the adverse impacts of pollution disproportionately affect young people. That is why tackling pollution around our schools is a top priority for Westminster City Council.

On this page, you can find out more about two of our key policies to help improve air quality around our schools. Here you will find details of our £1m schools’ air quality fund, and an easy to use checklist to highlight easy ways for schools to get involved and do their bit to tackle pollution.

You can also find out more about our wider work on improving air quality across the city on our air pollution webpages.

Schools Air Quality Audits

Every education establishment (with the age ranges of 5 to 18 years old) will be provided with an Air Quality Audit. Once the report is complete, you will have an opportunity to action the recommendations with financial assistance from the School Clean Air Fund and other funding streams identified with the support of City of Westminster.

Schools will be contacted directly in the new term by WSP who are facilitating the audits. Up to 30 schools per term are (September to December 2019, January to April, and May to July 2020) to be audited and will be contacted in alphabetical order.

Download the schools air quality audit schedule.

For further information about this programme please contact the Road Safety Officer by emailing: Askhighways@westminster.gov.uk.

Schools Air Quality Measuring

From September 2019 until August 2020, the air quality outside each school site will be monitored with diffusion tube testing according to DEFRA guidance.

This will help support the programme and provide a broader picture of what air quality is like throughout an academic year.

Schools' Clean Air Fund

In May 2018 we announced £1m of funding over four years to help Westminster’s primary schools tackle air pollution.

The steps to accessing the Clean Air Fund are as follows:

Your Air Quality Audit:

  1. our consultants will get in touch with you to set up audit dates and begin their background desk-top audit assessment.
  2. the audit itself will be a site visit from the auditors, accompanied by council staff.
  3. you will then receive a full audit report, containing recommendations, tips and advice to help improve air quality around your school.
  4. you will now be ready to access our Schools’ Clean Air Fund to help you implement some of the audit recommendations.

Accessing the Schools’ Clean Air Fund:

  1. your Air Quality Audit report will contain key recommendations across three main themes: school buildings, greening, and local roads.
  2. using these recommendations, you’ll be able to select what you think are your top priorities and use your audit report to apply to our £1m Schools’ Clean Air Fund.
  3. every school receiving an audit report will be eligible to access the fund, and once you’ve applied council officers will get in touch to discuss your application and how to take things forward. The Project Board will then review and sign off on your application.
  4. you will then be eligible to receive funding from our Schools’ Clean Air Fund to help to implement your chosen measures.
  5. we will keep in touch with you throughout the process and help you communicate and celebrate your projects to parents and to other schools to encourage them to take part in the programme.

Next steps

Schools can apply for funds after they have completed an air quality audit and received the report.

Local authority schools, free schools and academies can apply for up to £10,000 each, and private schools can apply for up to £5,000. The money can be spent on building and highway improvements outside school and green infrastructure.

There will also be further news on how businesses can support schools through sponsorships.

To get you started, we have created a short list of potential project ideas.

Project ideas for the schools’ clean air fund (PDF, 283KB)

Copy of letter to schools announcing the Westminster schools’ clean air fund (PDF, 206KB)

An update from Councilor Karen Scarborough, Lead member for air quality and environment.

Schools air quality checklist

We want to make it as easy as possible for our schools to identify and implement action on air quality. So we’ve put together a simple checklist to get you started.

Schools air quality checklist (PDF, 146KB)

Further information and resources (PDF, 283KB)

For any more information please email airquality@westminster.gov.uk

Case studies 

Last updated: 27 January 2020