Finsbury school tests high-tech solutions to toxic air

'Our technology kills viruses. Because we kill respiratory viruses it turns into a cost-effective exercise.'

Friday, 5th July 2019 — By Emily Finch


Radic8 chief operating officer Samantha Kitchen with the ion-producing mesh to go on school gate

A “VERY special mesh” is one of the key technologies being adopted by a Finsbury primary school to prevent toxic air pollution affecting pupils.

Hugh Myddelton is the first school in the country to adopt cutting-edge equipment made in South Korea and India which aims to clean the air inside school gates.

Ranked the 134th most polluted school in the country because of its position near main roads, it will have an electrostatic tower trapping carbon in the playground, ion-producing mesh systems on the school gates and clean-air technology that “neutralises” toxic air within classrooms.

The system, We Share Clean Air, from firm Radic8 will cost £30 a month per classroom for the clean-air technology alone.

The council-run school is also to use non-chemical cleaners made from probiotics that won’t emit harmful fumes.

Richard Greenwood, from Radic8, said at a launch event at the school on Friday: “We decided to set up this initiative with the idea that we would foster, innovate and bring together the best technology for fighting air pollution and do it in the most cost-effective way we could.”

When asked by the Tribune whether his initiative might create a two-tier system, with only some schools able to afford the tech solution, he said: “Our technology kills viruses. Because we kill respiratory viruses it turns into a cost-effective exercise. So £30 a month for a classroom saves costs if it saves two hours of a teacher being ill.

“When we put our technology into offices there is a 30 per cent drop in absenteeism, which is hugely cost-saving.”

Headteacher Tim Barber was “impressed” by Mr Greenwood’s commitment to making clean air “affordable and sustainable”.

“It’s a big commitment for a school but if you’re planning for the future you can’t just prepare students to read and write, but you have to make sure they’re physically well,” he said.

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