UCL Day Nursery


Mayor of London visits the UCL Day Nursery

23 October 2017

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, visited the Nursery to launch the T-charge for the most polluting vehicles.

Sadiq Khan visits UCL Day Nursery image

The UCL Day Nursery is one of the hundreds of schools that the Mayor believes will benefit from cleaner air as a result of the charge. Drivers of older, dirtier vehicles are now required to pay £10 a day on top of the standard £11.50 congestion charge.

The T-charge (T stands for Toxic) is already thought to have had an effect. Analysis from Transport for London found the number of older cars clocked by cameras entering the city centre had dropped by a third since February 2017 when the reforms were announced.

An estimated 6,500 cars a day are now expected to pay the charge, down from 10,000 at the start of the year. Of the 6,500 pre-2006 cars that are not up to the required Euro 4 standard, 22% use petrol and 78% diesel.

Mr Khan believes thousands of Londoners die prematurely each year as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution and more than 400 schools in the capital are in areas exceeding legal air quality levels.

The Mayor spent almost an hour at UCL nursery, which is based on two sites in Gordon Square and have been rated good and outstanding by Ofsted. He met Kate Burtenshaw, UCL Nursery Manager, Dr Celia Caulcott, Vice Provost for Enterprise and London, Richard Jackson, Director of Sustainability for UCL Estates, nursery staff members and the children.

Dr Caulcott said: “UCL is very conscious that the quality of air is a challenge. We are keen to do our part to develop a process where we have cleaner air. We support actions that will improve air quality for staff, students and their families and for Londoners as a whole.”

UCL’s nursery staff closely follow news and weather reports on air quality to minimise children’s exposure to high levels of pollution, has introduced “healthy” planting and active spaces for the children and is working to introduce air quality monitoring systems.

UCL is also closely involved in research to combat pollution and, as an employer, seeking to reduce its carbon footprint. “UCL is committed to helping to tackle air pollution and to create an environment for London in which children, students and staff breathe cleaner, healthier air,” said Mr Jackson. “As a London-based university with a successful, popular nursery, we share the concern and attention he is giving this issue.

UCL Nursery cares for up to 67 children of staff and students between three months and five years old. It offers a Forest Schools learning environment, providing care, play and learning that is grounded in outside play, nature and the environment.

UCL and the UCL Nursery is located in central London, within the zone that this policy will impact. UCL takes air pollution and the concerns of parents and children seriously. We follow news reporting and weather reports covering air quality closely to help us guide the activities of the children we care for.

UCL's Policy on Pollution at Nursery: Throughout the Nursery, we have introduced high quality, active spaces such as our sensory/physical room and planting that helps create healthy spaces for the children.

We are also working to introduce air quality monitoring systems at our sites, and using this to guide local logistics. We are keen to see improvements in our local environment and will await the outcome of the Mayor’s new policy. We want to ensure that children can enjoy outdoor spaces, both within our site and at the neighbouring Gordon Square.

On defined high pollution days, which are admittedly not common, we make an assessment in every individual instance of how best to manage the children’s day. A range of factors affect this such as weather conditions, other planned activities etc and we assess every factor in determining what action is taken and what the best scenario is for the children. We do not have a defined anti-pollution room.