European Environment Agency


Scotland participates both Phase 1 and Phase 2 of this initiative.

I. Information about the chosen schools

1. Where is/are the school(s) located (name of city, urban/sub-urban/rural)?

We have commitment from 18 primary schools across Glasgow (City authority) and 6 primary schools from East Renfrewshire (urban/sub-urban authority). We are conducting a detailed study at the primary/secondary school campus in Balfron, Stirlingshire with a high percentage of rural pupils who use bus services, with other schools across the council area planned to participate later in the year (mix of urban/sub-urban). We have had some interest from other local authorities, Aberdeenshire (rural authority) and North Lanarkshire (urban/sub-urban authority). Both Glasgow and East Renfrewshire have already trialled the programme at one school in each of their authority areas.

2. What kind of school(s) has/have been chosen (nursery, primary, secondary etc.)?

The schools that have been chosen at this stage of the project are a mix of primary and secondary schools. The primary schools, located within the city of Glasgow are set within urban areas outside of the recently introduced city centre Low Emission Zone. The schools in East Renfrewshire are a mix of urban and suburban areas, these schools are promoting a council-led active travel programme. The schools in Balfron are both primary and secondary schools located on the same campus in a rural location.

3. How far is/are the school(s) away from busy roads?

The schools are a mixture of roadside and set away from the road. The majority of them suffer from high volumes of vehicles parking and idling outside the school gates. The Balfron Campus has a high volume of pupils from the surrounding rural area who are brought to school by local authority-operated bus. This particular project is being led by a 6th year pupil who will be focusing on the traffic impacts around the school and the age (and emissions standards) of the bus fleet idling (and moving) within the school grounds.

4. What kind of buildings surround the school(s) (e.g. is it located in a street canyon)?

The schools are a mix of locations and surrounding buildings.

5. Do you have information on the traffic volume and/or the kind of vehicles passing in front of the school and/or on the neighbouring streets? If yes, please provide this info.

At this stage we do not have details of the traffic volume either within the school or around the neighbouring streets. The Balfron Campus study will look at the impact of school traffic both within the school and neighbouring streets and involve traffic counts.

6. Please provide an electronic ‘snap shot’ map of the

  • city or district where the school(s) is/are located, and of
  • school’s/schools’ close surroundings.

To follow as the project continues.

7. Other information, which you would like to share about the schools?

To follow once committed schools start their projects.

II. Information about the measurement (Assessment)* approach

Within the project scope SEPA has taken a dual approach at some locations, using pupil-designed banners at each school, with a focus on AQ, active travel measures and behaviour change. These banners are designed by the pupils at each of the schools, therefore the focus is on local issues that the school wish to promote and the banners become bespoke to the school. At other selected schools, SEPA and/or the local authority will undertake detailed measurements using low-cost electronic sensors (to measure NO2 peaks and trends). Both of our approaches make use of SEPA’s dedicated teaching resource to ensure that the pupils and the schools are well informed on air quality during the programme.

1. What kind of passive samplers do you plan to use, or which ones have you already used to measure NO2? How many?

At the moment we have electronic diffusion tubes (20) on order and are currently awaiting delivery. The intention is that these will be for use across participating primary and secondary schools. However, we have also teamed up with local authorities and are using a range of their sensors of a similar design. These include Zephyr and AQ Mesh monitoring systems, which both measure NO2 using low-cost electronic sensor technology. They both have the capacity to measure PM and O3, however our focus will be on NO2, with a greater emphasis on the trends (peaks) of the pollutant during the day rather than an absolute figure. We have used such sensors in the past and have found this to be a better indicator for expressing AQ issues at the school gate (as the peaks will relate to transport emissions at the schools).

All the schools will be participating in school-led banner competitions to encourage pupil participation. Each school will choose two winners from banner designs that focus on local issues, including AQ and active travel messaging. We have already successfully used the AQ banner approach at a number of schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow city areas in previous years.

2. Do you plan to use or have already used sensors to measure PM? If yes, which ones? How many?

We have used PM sensors in the past, across several school locations, however within this project scope we do not have any plans to measure for PM.

3. Do you plan or have you already compared results of your measurement equipment with or calibrated against official measurement stations?

Measurement equipment is tested and compared on delivery against reference instruments. However the intention of using the sensors is to demonstrate patterns of local vehicle movements during early morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times to encourage both pupils and parents to consider the potential issues with vehicle use around schools and as a form of travel to and from school. We will be combining the project with promoting active travel through partnerships with Cycling Scotland and Living Streets Scotland.

Question is N/A for banner approach.

4. Where do you plan to locate or have already located the measurement devices? If possible, please indicate this on the map(s) mentioned under I.), or provide coordinates.

Schools undertaking measurement activities will do so adjacent to, or close to, the drop-off/pick-up areas at the school gates. The project at Balfron School Campus will extend out of the school and into the neighbouring residential streets. This is due to the high volume of bus and private vehicle use to drop-off and pick-up both pupils from local and rural catchments and the location of the school with the village.

All banners are located on the boundary of the schools, at prominent locations close to, or adjacent to, pick-up and drop-off areas.

5. Please provide also info on the close surroundings of the measurement devices, e.g. in front of school (busy street, street canyon etc.), in the schoolyard, in the surroundings of the school(s).

See above answer.

6. Which sampling period(s), i.e. months have you chosen?

To be determined by individual schools (though likely to be from May to October). The Balfron study period will be for four weeks throughout April.

This question is N/A for the banner approach.

7. Do you also plan to count vehicles, vehicle types?

Yes, but this will be dependent on individual schools and local circumstances. We have partnered with Living Streets Scotland who use electronic dashboards in the classroom to measure child travel behaviours on a daily basis. This will be recorded across schools that have downloaded the classroom app and reports can be produced showing trends in travel behaviours.

III. Communication with pupils, teachers, parents

Foster engagement: Communicating about the project

1. Please indicate if you have any communication material already available and, if yes, what kind of material they are, e.g. from previous initiatives that can be useful for other participants.

SEPA provides a pre-existing schools educational package. This is currently being reviewed and updated to include the AQ banner components and to update the content, including linkages to partner organisations (Cycling Scotland and Living Streets Scotland).

2. Do you plan to cooperate with local administration responsible for air quality, traffic, urban planning etc.? If yes, which ones.

Yes. The local authorities will coordinate the delivery of the initiatives “on-the-ground” and link to other campaigns (e.g. 20 m.p.h., traffic restrictions at school drop-off/pick-up, anti-idling, active travel plans, health and wellbeing, cycling schemes). Glasgow City Council are linking their participation with promoting the wider benefits of their city centre Low Emission Zone (LEZ), whilst East Renfrewshire Council are linking their participation with their area-wide active travel programme. We have secured the involvement of Cycling Scotland and Living Streets Scotland to integrate the work of this project with their ongoing initiatives on active travel.

3. Are there any civil society initiatives or communities that are active in that domain in your countries? Which ones? They might have some useful communication material and contacts.

See above re: Cycling Scotland and Living Streets Scotland.

Scotland has an annual National Clean Air Day (June) at which Government, partner agencies, local authorities, schools and citizens are invited to participate. This is organised through Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS), and here is a link to last year’s event and content. We are currently planning activities with several local authorities to promote Clean Air Day.

Citizen science and behaviour change: capturing long-term impacts

4. How do you plan to ‘measure’ change in behaviour, see for example the before-after questionnaire used by ‘Curious Noses’?

A range of methods, including:

Measuring the change of pupil’s mode of travel to school (in the classroom) using the classroom smart board app supported by Living Streets Scotland.

Questionnaires (to parents).

Traffic counts.

Outputs of joint actions from linked campaigns (e.g. fewer cars idling).

Social media statistics (e.g. favourites & likes, reshares & retweets, replies & comments, reach and reactions).

Hardcopy media statistics (e.g. articles, letters, feedback).

5. Some concrete questions have been suggested in relation to the citizen science approach:

  • Can citizen science be used as a means of changing mobility behaviours in and around schools that influence air quality?
  • What ways of citizen science can be employed to changing such behaviour?
  • How effective are these ways of citizen science in changing mobility behaviour influencing air quality?

What kind of question(s) have you formulated?

We are currently in the process of formulating our questions and assessment criteria for measuring behaviour change, these will be included in the updates to the teaching package and encompass both the banner and low cost sensor approaches.