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Schools: Air Pollution

Question for Department for Education

UIN 185486, tabled on 21 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the number of schools that are located in areas with fine particulate matter over levels recommended by the World Health Organisation; and what steps he is taking to protect pupils from air pollution.

Answered on

28 April 2021

The Department has made no such specific estimate as local authorities are responsible for air quality in their area and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans.

If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality. This would generally be the local authority, academy trust or governing body.

In 2018, the Department published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), establishing guidance for school design on ventilation, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality. This guidance sets out the World Health Organisation’s air quality guidelines and Air Quality Standards Regulation 2010 for indoor air quality. BB101 requires the indoor environment of new or refurbished school buildings to be monitored by recording temperature and levels of carbon dioxide.

The Department is collaborating with other government departments and several academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.