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Ground-breaking green screens cut pollution levels by 20 per cent

Published on:

14 March 2018

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An innovative project from Enfield Council has successfully cut levels of a toxic air pollutant in a school playground by a fifth.

•        Enfield Council’s ground-breaking Green Screen project helps cut Nitrogen Dioxide levels
•        Wall of ivy cut pollution in playground by a fifth
•        Enfield Council to look at extending initiative to schools in areas with high pollutions level
 
An innovative project from Enfield Council has successfully cut levels of a toxic air pollutant in a school playground by a fifth.
 
As part of efforts to find ways of reducing levels of air pollution in the Borough, as part of its air quality action plan, Enfield Council installed an experimental Green Wall, made up of Ivy, at Bowes Primary School in 2015, to see if it would lower concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide on the playground side of the wall.

The study involved installing a 12 metre long and 2.4 metre high Ivy screen at the nursery entrance area of the school, which is situated on the North Circular Road (A406) and has hosted a London Air Quality Measurement Station since 2004.
 
Testing took place during the summer of 2017 and results showed that the playground side of the wall had a 22 per cent lower level of Nitrogen Dioxide than those recorded at roadside.
 
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said: “While we are actively working to encourage people to leave the car at home and use alternative and more sustainable modes of transport, including on the daily school run, to reduce the amount of pollution entering the atmosphere in the first place we are also looking at projects which can remove existing pollutants.

"We are therefore thrilled that Enfield Council’s Green Wall project has achieved such remarkable results.
 
“Enfield Council is running a variety of projects to help reduce air pollution, these range from our air quality action plan which seeks to improve air quality, the planting of hundreds of trees and our transformative Cycle Enfield programme, which seeks to regenerate our high streets and town centres and encourage people to leave their cars at home.
 
“We will now be looking at how we can best expand this project out to schools in areas of high pollution so we can help protect the health of our children as a matter of urgency.” 
 
Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Business, Cllr Alan Sitkin, said: “There is a major issue in London with regards high levels of air pollution and we are determined to do everything we can to tackle this issue, which is predominantly caused by traffic, specifically car usage.
 
“Building strong communities is all about providing world class infrastructure in a way that genuinely benefits residents and the Green Wall does exactly that.

"It is a simple low cost way of removing a toxic pollutant from the air that our children breath and it will directly reduce their chances of developing a serious lung related health condition in later life.”

Exposure to Nitrogen Dioxide has been shown to have a detrimental impact on health including increased cardio-pulmonary and lung cancer mortality rates and an increased risk of respiratory symptoms.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality and exposure to Nitrogen Oxides have been shown to negatively affect the lung function of school children. Enfield Council regulates emissions from industrial premises which involve combustion, use organic solvents, handle dusty material or store petrol.

The Borough’s £42m externally funded Cycle Enfield Project will regenerate town centres and encourage people to take up more sustainable modes of transport. In addition, the Council is working with schools to encourage parents to walk their children to school or use public transport rather than drive.

The Council has also recently entered into a partnership with Urbo bikes to provide affordable dockless cycle hire and regeneration schemes are focusing on improving traffic flow so that vehicles stationary at junctions with their engines idling.
 
Enfield Council is planting hundreds of trees along streets to improve the urban environment and improve air quality. The Council is also lobbying bus and train companies to improve services, journey times and reliability in order to increase the take-up of public transport and improve walking and cycling routes.