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Clean Air Day on Westminster's first school street

Wed, July 03, 2019 4:32 PM | Anonymous

Anyone walking or cycling past Enford Street on the morning of Thursday 20 June was offered a free breakfast to celebrate Clean Air Day - and some free TLC for their bike. Westminster Cycling Campaign put on the bike breakfast at St Mary’s Bryanston Square School to support Westminster’s very first ‘school street’, where traffic is kept out during school run hours.

Once the temporary bollards were safely in place at 8am, the pupils took over the road with hula hoops, chalks, balls and skipping ropes until school started at 9. Also there to celebrate were ward councillors Cllr Barbara Arzymanow and council cycling champion Cllr Jim Glen, along with Sustrans Air Quality officer Joe Lindsay.

Westminster Cycling Campaign were keen to support a scheme that keeps children safe, reduces air pollution and encourages more children to walk and cycle to school. Their ‘Dr Bike’, Philip Benstead, mended several bikes of all sizes, while group secretary Dominic Fee handed out breakfast goodies from his cargo bike, helped by his son, Laurie (3).

The choice of Clean Air Day is significant, as St Mary’s Bryanston Square School has the worst air quality of any London school. This is thanks to adjoining Marylebone Road, which sees nitrogen dioxide levels reaching over 100μg/m³ - the legal limit is 40. Greening in the playground has meant that air quality is now legal in the school grounds, but the school website says, “We are still concerned about parts of our school that are directly facing the road, about many of our children’s routes to school which involve crossing roads with illegal levels of pollution, and about the places where our families live.” http://stmarys.bryanston.net/?page_id=6131

Parents welcome the school street. “It feels so much safer now – you don’t have to look all around several times before you cross the road,” one father commented. The contrast was clear when the temporary bollards were removed at 9am and traffic came flooding back.


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