Rosendale playground air pollution has not improved since 2017 despite London-wide pollution reduction.

As parents we all know how important it is that kids eat healthily, but did you realise that every time a child breathes – 30 times a minute – they bring air deep into their lungs? This means the quality of the air they breathe is just as important as the food they eat.

Air pollution causes asthma, as well as reducing how big a child’s lungs grow to, which has lifelong health effects. It also reduces cognitive function and has a huge range of other health impacts. Because of these issues, the PTA paid for diffusion tubes to measure the pollution levels in the Rosendale playgrounds and the roadsides. The diffusion tubes measured the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2) which is caused by vehicle exhaust. We have summarised the final results from the diffustion tube analysis below. Analysis of the first half of the year can be found here.   

Note -sites measured include Rosendale roadside, Turney roadside, KS1 playground and Kate Taylor playground

1. Sadly pollution levels rose from September 2021 onwards.  The reasons for changes in air pollution can be complex but it is certainly likely to be a combination of vehicle volumes around the school, perhaps more people driving during the colder, wetter months. The other factor that could have an impact is the colder temperatures (cold air is denser and can result in some pollutants hanging around for longer – see this article for reference ). 

2.These levels of around 25 micrograms/m3 ( micrograms/cubic metre) are well above the legal World Health Organisation recommendation of 10micrograms /m3. The lowest reading is in August when all schools are off and the level drops to 14, not too far off the WHO reccomendation. This is because peak time traffic is significantly reduced in August and a big part of this is because parents are not driving the school run throughout schools in Dulwich (though it is not the only driver of traffic reduction in August, parents are more likely to be off work also etc). Therefore if Rosendale & all other local schools can help parents reduce single-family car use by walking, cycling, journey sharing, car-pooling, taking a mini bus or public transport instead of single family car trips, then all children will be able to breathe much healthier air. 

3. When we compare the current year readings to the 2017 readings, what is really concerning is that there has not been any improvement in air quality. This is hugely disappointing because there have been measures like the Ultra Low Emission Zone implemented in 2019 ( central London) & October 2021 ( expanded to south circular) which have “cut nitrogen dioxide emissions by 22% across Greater London”. The green bars on the chart represent where the playground readings SHOULD be, if they were keeping up with the air quality improvements throughout London.

In summary pollution levels are at concerning levels and perhaps more concerningly have not improved in line with the rest of London.  We need urgent action to reduce all school run traffic throughout the local area and there are really easy ways we can all help to do this, first and foremost by reducing our own school run car use.

If you would like support on how to reduce your own school run car use or to find out more about helping parents travel sustainably to Rosendale school, please email

The non-catchment schools around Rosendale (Dulwich Prep, Dulwich College, Oakfield, & Rosemead) also create a signficant amount of through traffic & air pollution around Rosendale which you can see the impact of here. If you would like to join the growing numbers of parents & residents calling for more sustainable travel options for these schools too, please check out the Sustainable School Run campagin run by local parents. You can really help by simply staying in touch & spreading the word to others!

* Plese note – none of the nitrogen dioxide diffusion tube readings in this analysis have been bias adjusted, however this does not materially impact the general comparison to WHO recommended levels or the direction of travel since 2017.



Rosendale gets TFL Bronze Stars award for commitment to reducing car journeys.

A fantastic effort from the school staff & parent community over the last two years in committing to active travel and reducing car journeys.

The Transport for London (TFL) stars program provides a framework of activities for schools to reduce car journeys in order reduce air pollution, improve road safety and enhance health and well being.

Rosendale completed 17 active travel activities, such as pedestrian & cycle training and ‘Walk to School Week’ as well as numerous supporting activities like awareness raising in local newspapers, social media and the school newsletter.

We were awarded a Bronze star in September 2021 but we completed so many activities, we nearly got Silver. Please see below our incredible progress – here’s to silver or gold this year!

If you would like to get involved – either by helping to raise awareness or running an activity please get in touch – message Nicola on 07765105115.

How polluted is the air the children are breathing ? The diffusion tube results are in…

The parent community recently raised funds to measure the air quality in the school playgrounds and roadside outside the school and we now have the first round of results.

1. If the air the children are breathing had a colour it would be this …

2. The diffusion tubes measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This is the toxic gas given off by petrol and diesel cars. The recommended level from the World Health Organisation (WHO) was recently changed from an annual average of 40micrograms/m3 (micrograms per cubic metre) to 10 micrograms/m3 due to the terribly damaging impacts on health this toxic gas has. Unfortunately the diffusion tube results at Rosendale for the last 5 months greatly exceed this recommended amount in every single location including in the playgrounds. Results as follows

  • Results below (average of last 5 months)
  • WHO recommend limit:10.0
  • KS1 playground: 14.8
  • Kate Taylor playground: 17.1
  • Rosendale road: 17.19
  • Turney road: 19.02
Note the chart shows nitrogen dioxide in micrograms/m3 not mg/c3 as the title states.

3. Turney road is higher than Rosendale road and we imagine that this is because Turney road is more congested generally and possibly also because the cycle path on Rosendale Road keeps the toxic fumes further away from the pavement.

4. Note in August, when the school is closed, most of the pollution levels are nearly at recommended levels. So, perhaps that shows us that healthy air is achievable without car use for school runs…

5. Additionally, an average is a fairly crude measurement and hides huge peaks in pollution at drop off and pick up when the children are on the roadside and very exposed to the fumes. Projected peaks at these times are over 40micrograms/m3– you can also view hourly data in more detail at this Airly monitoring page.

6. What does that mean for the children’s health? All Nitrogen dioxide exposure is harmful to children whose bodies are still developing and who are closer to vehicle exhausts. These recorded levels of nitrogen dioxide will unfortunately be damaging the children’s lungs, reducing their cognitive function and storing up health problems for later in life. Please see this government link for information on how harmful these car fumes are to health.

7. The good news…. we can stop damaging our children’s health by making a community effort to reduce car use and cycle, scoot and walk wherever we can. Given the traffic levels in the area, cycling is almost always faster then travelling by car. So please consider giving cycling a try, there are more resources & affordable bike programs now than ever before to support families of all sizes get around. Please email for support and advice. We really can make a change.

6. Huge thanks to everyone who donated to the diffusion tubes initiatives. We will release further results at the end of the program. We are also looking at ways the children may be able to use the diffusion tubes in “bringing science to life”.

Our walking crocodile lines are back – starting Wed 29th Sept

Hello everyone – our walking crocodile lines (formerly walking buses) are back. Below is all the information you need to join this green, social & fun way to get to school.

What is a walking crocodile line ?

A walking crocodile line is where children and their parents join with lots of other Rosendale families to form a lovely long line to walk to school.

What’s so great about them?

Walking crocodile lines are a chance to meet families in the Rosendale community from different classes and years. They are a social and fun way to get to school and children will get a sticker at the end! Better still when we are walking we are waking our bodies and minds up in the morning and because we are not driving we are keeping pollution away from the school. Also when other people see these fantastic Rosendale walking lines they might think it looks fun and decide to walk too!

How do I join the lines ?

We are running two walking crocodile routes to school, one from Brockwell Park and one from Wigwam toyshop on Rosendale road south of the school. You can join a walking line whenever you see it – here are the timings of the routes.

Route 1 from Brockwell Park

8.40 Depart Herne Hill park gate – 8.45 Rosendale road park gate – 8.55 Arrive at Rosendale road school gate

Route 2 from Wigwam toyshop, Rosendale road

8.40 Depart Wigwam toyshop – 8.50 Walkerscroft Mead – 8.55 Arrive Rosendale/Turney roundabout

I live quite far from school – is there parking nearby?

Yes, you can “park and stride!” Parking is available for Route 1 in Brockwell park car park and Route 2 in Eastmearn road near Wigwam topshop. Parking well before you get to school keeps harmful vehicle pollution away from the playground and the air the children breathe.

How can I find out more about active travel?

Please see these pages of our blog or better still join our clean air group – we welcome all help! The easiest way to help is to join our WhatsApp group to help spread the work – email to be added.

Clean Air at the Summer Fair…

We had a great day at the school’s summer fair at the end of term. We set up an obstacle course for the children, to show how much fun clean air can be! Yes! Really. 

First they had to ‘active travel’ on a balance bike through some cones, or around them, or on them – the choice was theirs! Then they reached a pile of bean bags and had to throw them on an image of their favourite form of active travel – walking, scooting or cycling. 

Once they’d completed the challenge they got a sticker (advertising our Walking Crocodiles that will happen every Wednesday in the new academic year), and the chance to look at a life-size model of lungs and discuss how important they are. Then they chose their prize, a biodegradable balloon (full of clean air), a seed bomb, and if they were really lucky, a sweet.

Parents had a chance to read up on why clean air is so important, especially around schools, plus join our Rosendale Clean Air group. It was a fun day out, and we look forward to seeing many of you in September at our Walking Bus.

Come and join us for Walking Wednesdays…

Forecast says sunshine for Wednesday. Do come and join us either at Wigwam or the Lido. Perfect opportunity to chat to other parents AND get some exercise all before school. And the stronger our walking bus gets, the more likely we’ll be able to formalise it with DBS accredited volunteers! Come and join us.

Walking Wednesdays – starting Wednesday 16th June

We are delighted to announce our walking buses will now take place every Wednesday starting this coming Wednesay 16th June. The walking buses are socially distanced crocodile lines that start at Brockwell Park Lido & Wigwam toyshop and families can join the lines at various ‘stops’ on the way. It’s a great opportunity to be social & active on the way to school, giving people the opportunity to meet local families across different classes and years.

There is parking at the beginning of the routes so those who live further away from the school can “park and stride”, keeping harmful vehicle pollution away from the school.

The routes & times are below – look out for a family with the “Rosendale Walking Bus” sign & join in! Buses will arrive at school in time for first drop off.

Route 1 from Brockwell Park Lido
Stop 1 – 8.20 Brockwell Park Lido car park
Stop 2 – 8.30 Brockwell Park/Rosendale road gate
Stop 3 – 8.35 Rosendale/ Harwarden Grove
Stop 4 – 8.40 Arrive Rosendale road gates

Route 2 from Wigwam Toyshop, Rosendale road
Stop 1 – 8.20 Wigwam Toyshop, Rosendale road
Stop 2 – 8.25 Rosendale/Carson road north
Stop 3 – 8.30 Rosendale road/ Walkerscroft Mead
Stop 4 – 8.35 Rosendale road/Lovelace road
Stop 5 – 8.40 Arrive Rosendale/Turney junction

If you would like more information on how to travel actively to school please see our blog post with information on healthy routes to schools as well as our resources to start cycling here.

Walking Bus Success!

Thank you to all those who joined our Walking Buses on Wednesday and particularly to governor Mark Creelman and parent Zoe Rippon who led them. Despite the rain it was surprising how much the children and adults enjoyed being social and active together with the opportunity to chat to those in different classes and year groups on the way to school.  Those who lived further away parked in the ‘Park and Stride’ locations at the beginning of the routes (at Brockwell Park Lido and Wigwam toyshop) and joined in the fun whilst keeping vehicle pollution away from the school. It was such a success it hit the headlines in this news piece!

We hope to be able to have regular Walking Buses so watch this space.  Please see photos below and on our twitter page – well done again to everyone who took part. Our thanks also to Katie at WigWam toyshop for advertising the route.

Click here to learn more about air pollution at Rosendale and sign up to follow our blog (below) and twitter for a chance to win a bottle of champagne & free bike accessories!

Brockwell Park Lido – our walking bus assembled at the start of the route.

Brockwell park route – striding across the park

Brockwell Park route – more striding across the park!
New joiners hopped on board at Brockwell park/Rosendale road gate
Brockwell Park route – headed up Rosendale road
Brockwell Park route – making it’s way up Rosendale road to school
Wigwam route – our walkers assembled outside Wigwam toyshop, on Rosendale road
Parents, kids & dogs battling the rain up Rosendale road.
More joiners hopped on board at Carson road

Our valiant Wigwam bus leaders!

The Wigwam route arrives at school

Prize draw! Bike accessories and champagne…

We want to celebrate how well our Walk To School Week is going, so we’ve arranged a lucky dip with local businesses. All you need to do is sign up to our blog via email (bottom of this page), or follow our twitter account and you’ll be entered into the prize draw! We’ll pull lucky names out of the hat next Friday, May 28th.

The lucky dip: there’s an array of playground padlocks, these are small padlocks that are suitable for children’s bikes, LED bike lights for the front and back of children’s bikes, some children’s biking t-shirts and useful little rucksacks. Peddle My Wheels, a circular economy business that is trying to make cycling affordable for everyone, kindly donated these. 

PLUS a bottle of Champagne! From local wine shop, Wild+Lees

We’ll be in touch if you’ve won, next Friday. Good luck!