Air quality at William Patten School
Deputy Mayor, Cllr Feryal Demirci, outlines the Council's approach to air quality at William Patten School:
Today, a group of parents have taken photos outside William Patten School in Stoke Newington as part of a campaign against proposals to reduce traffic on residential streets in the area.
We have been very clear that no decision has been made on the proposed road closures as we do more work to understand the potential impacts.
The campaign group know full well that we are waiting for the modelling work to be completed and that we will be meeting them again next month so we can discuss the traffic assumptions and air quality impacts of the proposed road closures.
They also know that, contrary to the GLA’s report, air quality monitoring and modelling suggests that the air pollution levels at William Patten School meet national air quality objectives for nitrogen dioxide, and across large parts of the playground are similar to what you would expect in less polluted back streets. It appears that they are more interested in getting publicity than the facts, which is not helpful for anyone, not least the pupils whose interests they claim to be looking out for.
I actually believe that we all want the same thing - to reduce traffic and improve the borough’s air quality. Removing through traffic from residential streets is an effective way of reducing the number of cars and improving air quality across entire areas, and no council has done more to get rid of dangerous rat runs than Hackney. We want to reduce air pollution on the streets where children live, sleep, walk and spend most of their time. If people are serious about protecting children from air pollution they should be lobbying us to close more roads, not less.
Independent of the proposed road closures, we have been monitoring at schools across the borough, including those that have wrongly been identified by the GLA as potentially failing national air quality objectives, and will recommend measures to reduce pupils’ exposure to pollution.
We are working with both William Patten and St Mary's schools to put in place measures to reduce pupil exposure. Our officers met the William Patten Head Teacher this morning to discuss what we are doing, which includes paying for a green wall and screens for the school gates.
Next month we will launch a schools air quality forecasting system, which we believe will be a first of its kind. It will provide information on borough and London wide air pollution episodes and is more accurate than existing borough and London wide systems such as the the GLA's alert service.
I can also announce that the Council will be making significant funding available to help schools affected by poor air quality across the borough.
Two thirds of households in Hackney do not own a car, but parts of the borough still suffers from poor air quality. We will continue to do all we can to reclaim our streets from the private motor vehicle, support the Mayor of London’s push for tightened restrictions on emissions and enable residents to cycle and walk as much as possible. We remain open to meaningful engagement - our decisions will be evidence based and not influenced by publicity stunts.
Cllr Feryal Demirci, Deputy Mayor