A nursery has spent thousands of pounds on air filtration machines that suck up pollution to “keep children safe”.

Hopes and Dreams, a Montessori nursery in City Road, Islington, has installed 12 filters to tackle nitrogen dioxide and carbon dioxide at a cost of more than £13,000.

Director Susan Bingham said: “This was not a cheap exercise but I felt I should do this to protect the children and keep them safe — that’s my job.

“We are on a busy London street and I wanted to do as much as I could.”

A study this year revealed that tens of thousands of children at schools, nurseries and colleges in the capital are exposed to illegal levels of air pollution.

The research, commissioned by City Hall, identified 802 educational institutions with levels of nitrogen dioxide that breach EU legal limits.

Ms Bingham worked on the “Clean Air Fairy” machines, which filter out NO2 and reduce CO2 and other gases, with electronics firm Radic8.

They come in different colours and are covered in pictures. She said: “I have noticed a difference already around the school. The air feels less heavy and stuffy.”

She added: “I knew we were on a main road but I had never really thought about the levels of air pollution until the information on dangerously high levels was published earlier this year.

“I was quite staggered, and ‘what can I do about it?’ was my question.

“Sadiq Khan is doing a lot of campaigning to deal with the pollution and we all got behind it and signed petitions, but I still felt this was not going to help overnight, so I did a lot of research on the internet and found Radic8.”

The machine’s filters include activated carbon and a particulate absorber, and there is also a patented sterilisation module that is said to neutralise any small particles that get past the filters including NO2 and viruses.

Ms Bingham said the Government should do more to help all schools and nurseries protect children’s lungs.

“It is not only pollution but everyday bugs where, with polluted air, the risk is heightened,” she said.

“We should be given more support, even if it is just more information on pollution and the equipment you can get to tackle it.”

The Government’s clean air plan, which was published in July, includes banning the sale of new diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

Published: Evening Standard Tuesday, 12 September 2017