1. ITV Report

Clean air scheme aims to protect playgrounds from pollution in Manchester

A new pilot scheme which aims to boost air quality in school playgrounds located next to major roads is set to launch in Manchester.

Scientists from Lancaster University have designed a programme which they believe has the potential to transform national policy, by demonstrating how evergreen hedges can be used as a natural shield to reduce the impact of traffic pollution on pupils.

Schools near main roads face high levels of pollution from passing traffic Credit: pa

The four schools selected to take part in the initial trial currently only have railings or mesh fencing between their playgrounds and an adjacent main road. Research has shown that evergreen hedges planted along the fence line act as a natural filter, absorbing some of the particulate air pollution generated by passing traffic.

The four schools taking part in the project are:

  • Abbott Community Primary, Collyhurst

  • Manchester Communication Academy Primary

  • St Ambrose RC Primary, Chorlton

  • Medlock Primary, Ardwick

This project has the potential to deliver some of the most ground-breaking and important evidence delivered to date in recognising the importance and value that green infrastructure can play in terms of reducing airborne pollution. It could quite literally be a lifesaver for the children of Manchester and of this country.

– Barbara Maher, Professor of Environmental Science, Lancaster University