Sadiq Khan opens 400ft ‘green wall’ to fight air pollution at Chiswick school after celebrity backed campaign
29th June 2019, 1100-1800
St Mary’s School, Duke Rd, Chiswick, London W4 2DF
29th June 2019, London — The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will unveil a 400ft ‘green wall’ and other measures to tackle air pollution at a primary school in Chiswick which is just three feet from a dual carriageway.
A parent-led campaign to create the ‘Chiswick Oasis’ has raised over £100,000 and won endorsement from celebrities including Emma Thompson, David Dimbleby, Jeremy Paxman and Claudia Winkleman.
The event will see the Mayor officially open the 126 meter wall – the largest ever installed at a school in the UK – which is made up of 12,000 plants which can help block harmful pollutants from reaching children as they play.
The school is also installing air purifying units inside classrooms, using “Air Purifying Paint” to redecorate the interior and has introduced ‘car free Fridays’ for parents and staff each week.
St Mary’s RC Primary School in Chiswick is one of the 50 most polluted schools in the UK, with pollution levels four times above legal limits. Several classroom windows opens directly onto the A4 dual carriageway with an average flow of around 100,000 vehicles a day. The headteacher has been forced to reduce outdoor playtime to protect children’s lungs.
Local parent Andrea Carnevali has spearheaded the campaign, after learning that his 6 year old son and other children are exposed to some of the most toxic air in Europe. He said:
“I’ve been overwhelmed with the level of support we’ve received and so happy that our children’s air will be cleaner after today. Kids have a right to breathe clean air and it’s been amazing to see so many people and organisations in Chiswick and beyond rally around this campaign.
“But it shouldn’t be up to parents to do this. We need to stop air pollution at the source, which means finding ways to get the dirtiest vehicles off our roads. This is a real crisis, and we need action that matches the scale of the problem at all levels of government.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan – whose Crowdfund London initiative pledged £32,000 to the project – said: “I am delighted to officially open the ‘Chiswick Oasis’ for the community who have done so much to bring this project to life.
“Our toxic air is a public health crisis that increases the risk of dementia and asthma and damages the lung development of our children. I’m doing all I can to tackle it but I can’t succeed without the support of my fellow Londoners. ‘Chiswick Oasis’ is a brilliant example of what can be achieved when communities work together to find innovative solutions to local problems and exactly the sort of project OUR Crowdfund London initiative was set up to support.”
Leading celebrities and TV personalities have offered their support, sending video messages to coincide with the launch. Emma Thompsondescribed the scheme as ‘fantastic’ and added ‘we need government behind this as well’.
As well as the Mayor of London, the Mayor of Hounslow, the Leader of the Council, local MP Ruth Cadbury and several other councillors will also be attending.
These are some of the activities: