Air quality projects

Tackling air quality requires a range of approaches. We are working on a number of projects to improve air quality across Islington and are always looking for new ones. We work with businesses, the construction industry, schools and the wider community to raise awareness on air quality and make changes to improve it.

See how we are also helping businesses cut pollution.

Schools projects

Many Islington schools are located in or near areas of high pollution and children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.

We are working with schools to help tackle air pollution, by teaching about air quality as part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum in science, history, art and literature. 

We want to ensure pupils understand:

  • what air pollution is
  • how it can impact on their health
  • how they can help to improve air quality and the environment

and we will work with schools to achieve this wherever possible.

We have also run some practical ‘citizen science’ projects - pupils have monitored air pollution in and around their schools using techniques like hand held air quality monitors, diffusion tubes or ghost wipes. We helped them understand this data and share it with the rest of the school so everyone can benefit from their findings.

Raising awareness

As well as pupils we also want to engage with teachers, parents and guardians so that everyone is aware of air quality issues.

One of our projects displays air quality information on a screen at the school entrance so that parents and guardians can see it when they drop off or pick up their children. This shows data from an air quality monitor at the school and also general air quality advice, together with work produced by the pupils on air quality.

We also run air quality events to raise awareness, which have included:

  • Anti-idling events: encouraging people that drive to school to turn their engines off while they wait, and providing information on air quality and fun air quality games.
  • Car free day: marking the day by encouraging active travel and the use of the numerous public transport and car club options available in Islington. Pupils had their lung function tested, got to know their bike and powered a film by cycling.

We also help pupils to share information they have learned about pollution directly with other students and parents, through assemblies, posters etc. These have ranged from a film on air quality to a walking map that was made available for everyone in the school to use.

Encouraging active travel

Activities like walking, cycling or scooting have health and air quality benefits. They can:

  • improve your fitness
  • lower your exposure to air pollution – the highest levels are in your car
  • lower the amount of pollution you produce

To reinforce this, we work with schools to increase active travel, by producing things like walking maps showing how long it takes to walk to school. We also have bikeability courses for schools and help them produce active travel plans.

How schools can reduce emissions

Schools can also lower the pollution they produce and their exposure to pollution by making changes to the building or surrounding area. This can include:

  • upgrading sources of emissions like boilers, generators or vehicles etc
  • reducing emissions from vehicles by combining deliveries, encouraging active travel among staff and adopting a no idling policy
  • greening the school - this improves air quality as well as being an engaging topic for pupils
  • making changes to school buildings, grounds and the surrounding areas (where possible) - this can decrease pollution and exposure.



Cleaner Air 4 Schools

Pupils, teachers and parents were taught about air quality and actions they can take to make it better. Pupils used diffusion tubes and ghost wipes to measure air quality. Air quality was also in the KS2 curriculum for history, literacy and art and design. Information produced by pupils was used to engage the wider school community.

Cleaner Air for Manor House and Finsbury Park

Schools in these areas were involved in a creative air quality project, educating students and the wider community through lessons, workshops, citizen science activities and assemblies. The project looked to raise awareness, engage pupils in monitoring air quality, identify ways to protect themselves against pollution, as well as reduce their own emissions and contribute to to school travel plans and STARS accreditation

Save the air, walk there

Following the Cleaner Air for Manor House project, the schools produced 5 and 10 minute walking zone maps and a film about their air quality project. watch this 

Car Free Day

For the 2016 Car Free Day we held an event on Islington Green for school pupils, cycle commuters and the wider community. Pupils from three of our primary schools took part in lung function tests, air quality games, a pedal-powered cinema showing a short film on sustainable travel, and a 'get to know your bike' session. 'Dr Bike' mechanics, police bike security marking and sustainable travel route planning were also available for the public.


A number of anti-idling events have been run across the borough, including in schools.They encourage drivers to turn off their engines when they are parked up to help improve local air pollution.

Air quality monitoring

Pupils used a hand-held air quality monitor to measure air quality around their school. They then used this information to help make a walking zone map, showing low pollution areas.

Air quality monitoring and information screen

An air quality monitor was located at a school to show air pollution levels 24/7. The results of this monitor were displayed at the school on an information screen, along with other information on air quality and ways to lower exposure so that parents can see this information at drop-off and pick-up times.

Was this information helpful?
  1. Please select

  2. Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.