Worries about the Silvertown Tunnel and pollution have placed a focus on Invicta Primary School in Blackheath – which lies close to the queues of the Blackwall Tunnel Southern Approach and is one of the 50 most polluted schools in London.
However, the school is doing something about it – raising funds for a “green wall” to screen pupils from the fumes, as REBECCA MOORE explains….
Monday 22nd April was Earth Day, so it was fitting that Invicta Primary School, Blackheath launched phase one of their green wall project last week.
The project is financially supported by the Mayor of London through the allocation of two separate grants: a £10,000 starter grant from The Mayor’s School Air Quality Audit Programme and £9,500 from the Schools Air Quality Greening Programme. The aim of the project is to reduce air pollution by planting an ivy barrier around the school perimeter and evergreen trees within the school grounds.
The project has been a collaboration between the school, parents and industry experts. Niall McEvoy, from Scotscape Landscaping, has children who attend Invicta. He was keen to help get the project off the ground.
He said: “When considering a challenge to reduce air pollution we know that plants have the ability to remove gases such as nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. However not all plants have the ability to protect against Particulate Matter. And our aim was to significantly reduce PM10s and PM2.5s as they can be very damaging to young lungs.”
Vicki Cuff, the school’s acting executive head, said: “When we were told Invicta Blackheath was in the top 50 polluted primary schools we were shocked and saddened, but it has been fantastic to see the local community, teachers, parents and pupils come together to help create this barrier.
“The children at Invicta might be young, but are already developing a passion for environmental issues they are learning about, so it is wonderful they can see first hand the impact they and their community can have on bringing about change.”
Phase two of the project starts in May with planting of fruit trees and the creation of a wildflower garden. Pupils will also be involved through their summer science challenge where they will join in with the planting learning more about air quality, the environment and biodiversity. As climate change and its environmental impact becomes more urgent, it’s great to see young people getting involved from a grass roots level.