Schools: Air Pollution

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th October 2020.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to incentivise schools to install air quality monitors.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools that have air quality monitors installed.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to encourage (a) primary and (b) secondary schools to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

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 that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

In 2018, the Department for Education published Building Bulletin 101 (BB101), which is 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 a number of academic institutions on air quality projects. The findings from these projects will, in due course, inform our guidance and standards for school buildings.

The Department does not hold data on the proportion of primary or secondary schools with air quality monitors installed.

We will be considering with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether and how schools might be encouraged to take part in Clean Air Day in future years.

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