Displaying items by tag: school

At MP Smarter Travel we believe in preparing the next generation to make informed decisions that protect our natural environment and minimise our current impact. To date, we have worked with schools and local councils across London engaging students through citizen science experiments, providing fun and engaging educational workshops and student-led film production.

MP Smarter Travel's Breathe Clean programme is designed to educate children and young people about air pollution, foster new sustainable travel behaviours, and identify new ways to minimise air pollution. This programme has previously been delivered in Newham, Brent and Lambeth, and most recently in Westminster.


Fun Fact

The Breathe Clean project has been run in four London boroughs, with workshops held 116 schools to an estimated 17,400 students. Through Breathe Clean, students have helped our consultants install 3,067 diffusion tubes across London.

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How Breathe Clean Works

Prior to February 2020, we taught our Breathe Clean programmes in assemblies face-to-face, making them engaging and interactive as possible for students. When lockdown was announced in early 2020, we switched our programmes and activities to online, retaining the interactive aspects of the assembly while protecting students, staff and our team.

The programme is conducted with two assemblies in each school. The first assembly educates students about the sources and impacts of air pollution. When we hold these assemblies in person, we ask for five or six student volunteers to help our consultants install diffusion tubes across the school’s campus. These diffusion tubes measure the air quality in the school grounds, these are collected four weeks after installation for analysis.

We then return six weeks later to conduct the second assembly. Here we share the results we garnered from the diffusion tubes and what these results mean and discuss different solutions to air pollution. Students come together to discuss why they think air quality changes across the school campus and how it can be improved.

Whether in person or online, we send out activity and resource packs for students and staff on how to maintain and improve air quality in and around schools. This resource packs also relate to the school’s travel plan, and how Breathe Clean activities can contribute to the next level of TfL STARS accreditation.

Our Breathe Clean packs include:

  • a bespoke presentation
  • notes to support the presentation delivery
  • measures that a school can implement to reduce air pollution on campus


"The children enjoyed [the assembly] immensely and were informed and encouraged in equal measure. I overheard year 6 pupils talking about it later in the day as we crossed the playground - so it definitely made an impact! The Zoom format worked incredibly well and it was made extra special by the inclusion of our act of collective worship at the end." 

St Joseph's Roman Catholic Primary School


If you'd like MP Smarter Travel to hold Breathe Clean workshops at schools in your area, contact us today by emailing info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or calling 0207 960 2553.

Published in Blog


MP Smarter Travel are pleased to announce that we will be working alongside Idling Action London to deliver school workshops and events at primary schools across 31 London boroughs.

Idling Action London is a London-wide behaviour change campaign which is helping to reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists leaving their engines running when parked. Idling Action delivers a wide range of events including educational sessions for motorists, fleet vehicle training, school workshops and working with local authorities to ensure idling regulations are enforced across London.


School Workshops and Events

Using a variety of interactive workshops, educational sessions and school assemblies, all designed for children from four to 11 years of age, the focus of the events will cover a range of topics including:

  • The composition of the air we breathe
  • Uncovering London’s most common pollutants and where they come from
  • How we measure the invisible threat of pollution
  • Connecting pollution exposure with health conditions
  • Encouraging students to think about their own journeys and the pollution they might encounter


Where possible, the workshops and events will be delivered on-site at schools.

About the Team

Oli Ivens, Head of Consulting and Project Director

Oli joined MP Smarter Travel in 2018 as a Consultant and has since worked his way to Head of Consulting. Since starting, Oli has worked with local authorities, Business Improvement Districts, schools and charities to deliver sustainable transport projects including Team London Bridge’s Bikes for Business, school travel plans and air quality monitoring.


Mia Wilson, Education Consultant 

Mia has over 30 years’ experience working as a school teacher, and has been an independent educational consultant for the past seven years. Over the course of her career, she has taught and advised schools on a range of aspects including student assessment and pupil tracking and has delivered anti-violence and anti-bullying workshops to primary and secondary age students. 

As part of the Idling Action project, Mia will be delivering the majority of the workshops and events. 


MP Smarter Travel 

Since MP Smarter Travel’s inception in 2012, our consultants have worked with schools and local authorities across London delivering sustainable transport workshops, hands up surveys, clean air initiatives and school travel plans projects through TfL STARS. To date, we’ve delivered 25 years’ worth of full school travel plan programmes since 2011-12 across 10 different London boroughs, all to improve the health and wellbeing of those who live and work in London. 

Contact us today to see how our team can help schools in your area to deliver a range of engaging and interactive workshops and sustainable transport projects by emailing info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or calling 0207 960 2553

Published in Blog


Situated just 10 miles south of central London and a stone's throw to Brighton, Croydon has long been a popular area to live and work with an ever-growing population. With excellent transport links across the south of England, the borough has almost 150 schools, many of which in short distance from high traffic areas. Combined with an increasing number of motor vehicles, the risk to the air quality in and around schools is a concern.

Croydon's Air Quality Action Plan includes the action to 'reduce pollution and minimise exposure' at schools. Good quality data is essential for understanding the issue and measuring potential improvements against a baseline.


How we did it

From January to December 2020, MP Smarter Travel were commissioned to monitor air quality using nitrogen dioxide diffusion tube monitoring, at 96 schools throughout the borough. The testing was held over a one-year basis, collecting and replacing the test tubes on a monthly basis. All of the installations, come rain or shine, were carried out with zero emissions by bicycle. In order to complete the installations, our consultants covered an average 180km each month in just two days. Testing and monitoring air quality around schools is quick, the equipment is discreet and the installation doesn’t cause any disruption to pupils, students or local residents.

These tubes were installed at the beginning of each month and were sent to a lab to review and analyse the levels of nitrogen dioxide. A monthly report was provided to Croydon Council with a final review summarising the results and a recommendation for improving air quality.

Key statistics

  • 1,056 diffusion tubes installed
  • 2,340km cycled over the course of the project
  • Nitrogen dioxide readings recorded in June 2021 were almost 50 per cent less that in January 2021



As the testing took place in January 2020, prior to the COVID pandemic, through to the end of the calendar year, we were able to capture a diverse range of results that reflected the impact of the various COVID-related lockdowns.

The results demonstrated a sharp decrease in NO2 from March 2020 (average 26.19 µg/m³) to April 2020 (average 18.64 µg/m³), as lockdown was put in place and many children attended school via zoom and parents worked from home. As restrictions were eased and COVID cases reduced, we found a gradual increase in NO2 between July and September associated with higher traffic levels. This shows a strong correlation between COVID restrictions and reduction of NO2 pollution.

As children across the country, not just Croydon, return to school, emissions are likely to rise again. The challenge now for schools is to educate, encourage and implement travel plans for their students that engages them and promotes a healthier environment.

Air quality monitoring is crucial to forming a clear understanding of the impact of air pollution on public health, particularly in children. If healthier environments and habits are established at a young age, they are more likely to continue a healthy lifestyle as they go into adulthood. By monitoring air in and around cities, we can use this data to locate and address problem areas quickly, with strategies such as:

  • School travel plans
  • Healthy school streets
  • Low traffic neighbourhoods
  • Green screen installations
  • Cycle training; and
  • Improved wayfinding


All of which can be easily implemented to lower pollution before it gets out of control. On top of this, areas with less and quieter traffic create more enjoyable places to live and work that encourage social interaction and attract more visitors/residents to come to the area.

Air quality monitoring is just the start of helping schools, communities and our cities become cleaner and more enjoyable to be in. Find out more about our work including school travel plans, TfL STARS workshops and our sustainable transport projects in our blog and case studies.

If you’d like to speak to us about our air quality monitoring service, contact us directly by emailing us at info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk or calling 0207 960 2553.

Published in Case studies

MP Smarter Travel is currently delivering an exciting project with the London Borough of Brent to engage with schools on the subject of air quality, and to carry out air quality monitoring at 40 schools. This work builds upon the Mayor’s School Air Quality Audit programme, and seeks to teach children about the actions they and their families can take to minimise air pollution whilst collecting accurate data about NO2 concentrations.

We have been liaising with school administrators to schedule air quality assemblies. Our team of sustainability educational consultants have been delivering air quality assemblies to primary and secondary schools. As part of this project, we are working with students to set up diffusion tube monitoring, which will provide a detailed picture of the distribution of NO2 concentrations in school grounds both indoors and outdoors.

If you are looking for support with air quality education/engagement or air quality monitoring, feel free to get in touch.

Published in Blog

MP Smarter Travel has been selected by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets to deliver an event to promote sustainable transport amongst the borough’s schools. Specifically, the event aims to increase the implementation of School Travel Plan (STP) measures, increase STP accreditation, and achieve school mode shift in the east London borough.

The event provides a fantastic opportunity for schools to showcase their achievements in promoting active and sustainable travel, and can serve to inspire other schools to follow their lead. It is an opportunity to teach STP Champions and pupils about disseminating key messages at their schools, and helps schools foster links with other schools to develop a support network.  

This project builds upon our successful delivery of the Lewisham Schools Air Quality event which featured an opening statement from the Mayor of Lewisham and workshops delivered by Trees for Cities and Tranquil Spaces.

If you are looking for support with delivering events to promote sustainable transport, feel free to get in touch.

Published in Blog

MP Smarter Travel has recently been awarded a contract with London Borough of Newham to deliver their School Travel Planning programme for the 2018-19 academic year. Since 2012, MP Smarter Travel has delivered 22 School Travel Planning programmes on behalf of local authorities. This will be our first such programme with LB Newham.

Our key task will be to increase engagement and STARS accreditation with the borough's 109 schools. In addition, our tasks will include:

  • Hosting workshops to secure engagement, share ideas and provide training for school champions;
  • Integrating School Travel Plans with key campaign weeks (e.g. Walk to School Week, Road Safety Week, and the Big Pedal); and
  • Gathering detailed and up-to-date information about transport-related issues around schools; including walking/cycling infrastructure, traffic calming and disability access.

If you are looking for support with sustainable school travel or other engagement projects, feel free to get in touch.

Published in Blog

MP Smarter Travel has been awarded a contact with Westminster City Council to deliver ‘Hands Up’ surveys at 33 schools. These surveys gather data on the mode of travel that children currently use to travel to school, and the mode that they would like to use if they could choose. MP Smarter Travel will make all arrangements with schools, and will conduct surveys by speaking with children in classrooms to ensure that data is thorough and accurate.

This work is an extension of a project we delivered for Westminster City Council in the 2017-18 school year, and focuses on schools in 20mph zones. The data will be used to understand School Travel Plans’ influence on mode of travel. It will also form part of the evidence base for the Westminster City Council’s Sustainable Modes of Travel Strategy (SMoTS), which sets out all the proposals and programmes that will be undertaken to encourage school communities to choose safer, healthier and environmentally friendly methods of travel.

If you are looking for support with stakeholder engagement, survey deliery or data analysis, feel free to get in touch.



Published in Blog

Case studies