Our work

Planting Healthy Air in Schools

Through Planting Healthy Air in Schools, Trees for Cities is testing green infrastructure, design and planting techniques to screen airborne pollution.  

The programme involves redesigning areas of the playground where air quality is particularly poor, including planting trees and other vegetation and creating woodland shelters and wildlife areas to help create greener, healthier playgrounds for outdoor learning and play. 

It has been developed to address London’s poor air quality and the detrimental effects this has, particularly on children. The capital’s trees remove an estimated 2,241 tonnes of pollution each year, making them a particularly effective barrier to the flow of toxic air. 

With help from pupils, Mapping for Change and Lancaster University we are monitoring how pollution levels change over the course of 12 months by measuring nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM). 

Lancaster University are also advising on the type and location of green infrastructure such as vegetation screens, planters and trees, and helping to evaluate the effectiveness of the planting in reducing pollution. Mapping for Change are delivering a citizen science programme within the schools, getting the kids fully involved in the pollution monitoring from the outset. 

We are currently looking to secure more funding so we can carry on this exciting programme with the aim to open up the programme to other schools that might be eligible. If you are involved with a school that is known to have particularly high air pollution levels that exceed EU standards, demonstrable need for greening of your playground and a motivated senior leadership team then please contact laura@treesforcities.org for more information.

Due to the high demand we regret that we cannot work with every school who contacts us. This programme is currently only open to primary schools in London. 

The schools we are currently working with are:

  • Christ Church Bentinck, CE Primary School, London Borough of Westminster
  • Woolmore Primary School, London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Tudor Primary School, London Borough of Barnet