Top Sheffield businesses have joined forces to support a Sheffield school to improve playground air quality and clean the air children breathe.

A number of highly regarded Sheffield firms have partnered on an innovative project to
green Hunter’s Bar Infant School, in a bid to protect children from harmful pollutants caused by vehicle exhaust fumes.

The #GoGoGreen campaign, launched in March this year, was born out of a special collaboration between Hunter’s Bar Infant School and the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture. The campaign aims to raise awareness, funds and in-kind support to build a living green air pollution barrier around the school, which is attended by 270 pupils in the South West of Sheffield.

The barrier has been designed using data collected from the Breathe research project; researching inner-city school air quality and the impact of living green barriers in playgrounds. The four-year-long study, which has been funded by the Grantham Institute of Sustainable Futures, is being conducted by PhD candidate María del Carmen Redondo Bermúdez, who has been taking daily measurements of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from Hunter’s Bar Infant School playground. Maria will be comparing the levels before and after the green barrier has been constructed.

Earlier this year, Hunter’s Bar Infant School and The University of Sheffield reached out to local businesses to ask for support for the groundworks and planting needed to deliver the 60m-long living green barrier. The air pollution barrier itself has been designed by landscape architects from Urban Wilderness, who have gifted their professional expertise to the project, working closely with PhD student Maria, to incorporate early research findings into the plant selection and planting design.

In April 2019, leading Sheffield Business Together (SBT) members, Arup and Henry Boot, offered their expertise and resources to support the #GoGoGreen initiative. SBT is a collaboration of Sheffield businesses that strategically connect and share resources with charities in order to address key city challenges.

Andrew McDowell, Associate Director at Arup and Vice Chair of Sheffield Business Together said: “GoGoGreen is an ideal project for SBT. Our vision is to bring businesses together to collaborate on projects that address the broader city challenges, that no one business could deliver on its own. The ‘environment’ is a key theme for SBT and air quality is a particular issue for Sheffield. We are excited to be part of this groundbreaking project and research that could eventually benefit so many children across the city.”

Since April, engineering consultancy Arup has joined with Urban Wilderness to produce structural elements of the landscape drawings and Henry Boot Construction volunteered as the principal contractor; bringing with them subcontractors RB Allfree and survey specialists Sub Scan.

Gary Holmes, Contracts Manager, Henry Boot Construction Limited said: “As a local contractor, we are delighted to support the school in delivering the #GoGoGreen project. The innovative scheme will lead to improved air quality for children for years to come and we are grateful to subcontractors Sub Scan and RB Allfree for providing their assistance with the groundworks.”

This August, Henry Boot and their subcontractors RB Allfree, broke ground at Hunter’s Bar Infant School playground; delivering the pre-planting groundworks needed for the air pollution barrier.

#GoGoGreen has also received in-kind services, kit and consultation from the likes of Urban Flows Observatory, Amey, Enzygo, Ecothrive and Ramm Sanderson, and many more businesses have donated money and fundraising assets for plants and materials.

In October this year, the school community, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield businesses will join together again, to plant the living green barrier in the newly prepared playground. The accompanying research study will be published in scientific journals and via online platforms, making it accessible for other schools to learn from.

#GoGoGreen is a school community, university and business collaboration, using evidence-based solutions to improve air quality at Hunter’s Bar Infant School. By raising awareness of air quality challenges faced by inner-city schools and partnering with Sheffield Business Together, there is an ambition to create a #GoGoGreen blueprint,
which will support other schools to install similar green barriers.

Businesses looking to support Hunter’s Bar Infant School’s drive to #GoGoGreen, by sponsoring an Ivy Screen for just £100, can register an interest here: