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World Green Building Week: One in five London schools affected by air pollution

As World Green Building Week begins, a report has found that 20% of schools in London are situated in areas blighted by poor air quality.

The study (‘London’s Polluted Schools: the Social Context’) also highlighted the link between exposure to polluted air and poverty, with the greatest number of primary schools affected by toxic air being in an area with a deprivation score of 35-40 (the average being 23.6).

The figures for secondary schools followed a similar pattern, with more than 30 falling in the 35-40 deprivation score bracket.

Young people are at greater risk from air pollution than adults because their lungs and immune systems are still developing, plus they tend to breathe at a faster rate and inhale more air. The fact that schools are often sited on busy roads means that traffic pollution is a significant factor in what London Mayor Sadiq Khan has described as a “national air quality health crisis.”

Outdoor air pollution means that many schools depend upon heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to provide safe, clean air to staff and pupils. Sadly, maintenance of these systems is often inadequate or overlooked entirely, leading to the development of mould, bacteria and viruses. These contaminants are then introduced to classrooms via the airstream, leaving students and staff at risk of infection.

Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) not only poses physical health risks; schoolchildren exposed to airborne pollutants may experience headaches and tiredness, leading to difficulty in concentrating and increased absenteeism.

Gibbons Engineering Group is vastly experienced in the provision of sterile, healthy air for occupied spaces, including schools, colleges and universities.

This is delivered through our dedicated Ultraviolet Solutions division, which supplies pioneering ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems that apply the power of ultraviolet-C (UVC) light to disinfect air handling equipment and surfaces.

These low-maintenance, chemical-free solutions eradicate bacteria, mould and viruses in the air and on surfaces while preventing regrowth through continued use.

For more information, call Gibbons Ultraviolet Solutions Sales Manager Colin Hardman on 07940 544 206 or email

Ultraviolet Solutions

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