Bath MP Wera Hobhouse visited St Andrews Primary School on Northampton Street, and was thoroughly impressed with the Green Classrooms Project the school has conducted.
The report analysed the school environment, and delivered workable solutions to increase productivity, as well as the health and wellbeing of both students and staff.
Children spend up to 60% of their waking hours in a school environment. This environment must be as conducive to productive learning and engagement as it can be. A wide range of factors were analysed in the report but one aspect was of major concern: air quality.
Air pollution is a serious issue in the city. This is no secret. Bath being in a valley makes it more difficult for pollution to disperse. St Andrews Primary School in situated on Julian Road, a busy road rife with constant traffic. Levels of CO2 and pollutants were found to be very high in the classrooms here, and the teachers are afraid to even open the windows.
Air purification units have been recommended. Pupils have been asking to have plants on every desk to help to reduce levels of CO2. Discussions have taken place as to how best to reduce air pollution around the school. Some of the suggestions include potentially reducing traffic along Julian Road during classroom hours. This could be achieved by creating a one-way system along Julian Road, diverting cars away and around the adjacent green, or even moving the road a few metres further away from the grounds. Drastic change is needed to improve the environment the pupils study in. But this isn’t an isolated incident.
Air pollution affects the majority of schools in Bath. Wera said: "Earlier this year, Widcombe Junior School pupils marched on the Guildhall to deliver a letter to the council as part of their 'pollution solution' project. Clearly there is a groundswell of support needed for change. We only need 3% of the population to become active in order to achieve this. That’s around 2,000 people here in Bath. Parents, teachers and governors must join forces to have our opinions heard. The sooner we act, the better.
“I spent had a very productive morning at St Andrews Primary School meeting teachers, parents and governors. I was shocked by the findings of the project, but encouraged by the spirit of all those I met to come up with solutions. It is vital that we come together and stand up for the next generation, and say enough is enough. The council and government must protect our children better. The Clean Air Zone is a start but it must go much further.”