Students from Sir William Burrough Primary School, Stepney, today grabbed the chance to plant a cherry tree with John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets and Councillor Rachel Blake, as part of final works to the borough’s first “School Street.”
The council permanently closed Salmon Road, which leads up to the school, to improve road safety, help protect pupils from air pollution and create a place where children can safely play.
120 pupils were involved in designing the street in Stepney. The school then got to vote on their preference which is inspired by the borough’s parks and includes the installation of new trees, benches and a wall mural.
A zebra crossing was also introduced to improve access to the school.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said:
“I am committed to delivering a variety of School Streets over the next four years. Some roads will be closed entirely to traffic. Others will introduce timed restrictions on access to help reduce air pollution caused by parents dropping off their children. Our aim is to improve local air quality and to improve the health of our young people.”
Cllr Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Air Quality added:
“It is shocking that the health of our children is more badly affected than wealthier areas of London. School Streets help screen off some local air pollutants and create some great, safe places for children to play.”
Research by Kings College London University investigated the link between traffic pollution and lung function in 8 and 9 year old children living in London’s Low Emission Zone in east London. The research showed that children from the most polluted areas have 5 to 10 per cent less lung capacity and they may never get that back.
40 per cent of residents live in areas of unacceptable air quality and according to the Public Health Outcomes Indicators and residents are twice as likely to die from lung cancer and other lung diseases compared to people in London’s most well-off boroughs.
The aim of School Streets is to improve local air quality and road safety by reducing congestion and contribute positively to children’s health and wellbeing.
Posted on Wednesday 12th December 2018