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As London becomes the world’s first city with a 24-7 Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), Highgate pupils are analysing air quality and pollution around our School sites.

Although not yet covered by ULEZ, which aims to improve the air we breathe in London, Highgate remains committed to being a sustainable school. We encourage all our pupils, parents, staff and visitors to travel to our School in a way that reduces local air pollution. Our School bus service, for example, has decreased parental reliance on cars, cutting approximately 13,000 car journeys to and from Highgate throughout 2018.

As part of our efforts to understand why it is important that people travel sustainably, Highgate recently purchased a number of diffusion tubes to measure local air quality. These were installed by members of our pupil-led Senior School Environment Committee, around our North Road site, and by Pre-Prep Eco-School pupils and Junior School Eco Council pupils around our Bishopswood Road buildings.

Elliot Prescott, Transport Logistics Manager, says: ‘The Mayor of London launched London’s ULEZ at the start of April to tackle toxic air pollution. From October 2021, London’s ULEZ will expand to an area bounded by the north and south circular roads that includes Highgate. Whilst this will help improve the quality of the air we breathe, we must continue to employ our own efforts in the meantime. This includes promotion of walking, cycling and public transport as means of travelling to Highgate. Monitoring levels of air pollution around our School helps us gain a greater understanding of the present situation.

‘We will continue to encourage all pupils, parents, staff and visitors to travel to Highgate sustainably, to help us improve the environment around our School and enable our children to breathe cleaner air.’

Highgate’s diffusion tubes will stay in place for three weeks, before being analysed by a laboratory to provide us with an indication of air pollution levels and local air quality near our School. These results will be reported to pupils in assembly time at the start of June.

Junior School pupils – Hector, Lexie, George, Cecily, Jamie and Luke – put up diffusion tubes outside Highgate’s Mills Centre.