Creating cleaner, greener spaces are important for reducing air pollution and improving our health. That's why we organised a series of street parties at six schools across Tower Hamlets, so thousands of children could enjoy car-free streets.
Children in Tower Hamlets were able to travel and play safely without car traffic.
The street parties, organised by Sustrans, included a variety of activities, such as disco bikes, toys to play with from the Museum of Childhood, and a BMX show.
These events coincided with World Car Free Day, a day dedicated to opening the streets for people to walk, cycle and scoot and to play safely without road traffic.
Transport is the main source of air pollution in the borough
Tower Hamlets has the most traffic in the country and transport is the main source of air pollution.
As a result, children in Tower Hamlets have up to 10% less lung function due to air pollution and poor air quality compared to the national average.
Transforming school streets in Tower Hamlets
To clean up the air quality and make streets safer and greener, Tower Hamlets Council is installing School Streets across the borough.
This approach aims to encourage activity, reduce pollution and help growth, learning, and development.
The six street parties were run in partnership with Sustrans, as a celebration of the work being done with primary schools to encourage school pupils and their parents to walk, cycle, and scoot to school.
Tower Hamlets Council is committed to delivering 50 School Streets across the borough, of which 21 have already been delivered and 16 are in progress, with others in the early stages of consultation.
Making the areas around schools safer and greener
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said:
“The areas outside of primary schools should be safe for children to walk to and from school.
"As part of responding to the climate crisis and cleaning up our air, we are making the areas around schools safer and greener.
"Our School Streets programme can include everything from wider pavements and safer crossings to green walls and clean air gardens to filter air and improve the environment.
“It's wonderful to see so many children enjoying the space outside their schools this week.
"We continue to work to ensure all children in Tower Hamlets can enjoy their school streets safely all year round.”
Improving the public realm
Cllr Kahar Chowdhury, Cabinet Member for Public Realm, said:
“We are delighted to be participating in this week’s school events to mark Car Free Day with other London boroughs.”
“Improving our public realm and our air quality is important to the Council.
"That's why we have been introducing a range of measures alongside School Streets, including planting over 740 trees in our streets, creating more cycle lanes, and installing electric vehicles chargers around the borough.”
Cleaner air is vital for our health and wellbeing
James Cleeton, London Director for Sustrans said:
“It was great to see the children and entire school communities enjoying themselves at these six events to mark Car Free Day.
"School Streets show exactly how transformative it is when children have space that is safe to talk and play with family and friends, away from busy traffic and polluting fumes.
"Making streets safer and the air cleaner is vitally important for the health and wellbeing of residents in Tower Hamlets.
"We’re delighted to be working with Tower Hamlets and school communities to deliver a safer, greener environment in the borough.”