We know that TV has the power to transform and change behaviours thanks to its onscreen content, but what about when a production company can also change things behind the scenes and leave a lasting legacy for its subjects.
This is exactly what Love Productions managed to do on its most recent Dispatches: Britain’s Toxic Air Scandal production, which investigates just how polluted the air in and around an inner London school has become.
“Having recently joined albert as an affiliate we were keen to start putting some low carbon measures into practice. This seemed like the perfect production to start with” said Jane Lowe, Production Manager and albert reviewer at Love Productions.
The small team behind the documentary were aware through their initial research of the likely pollution that the school children were being exposed to but the results of their experiments still came as a shock to the parents and school teachers.
“Despite the results, we were able to offer parents some easy advice on things they could do to protect their children, added Jane, “for example, we were able to show that changing walking routes, and using quieter streets or walking through a park had a big impact on the quality of the air children were breathing. Ditching the car and walking to school also improved a child’s health as the air quality in cars was often lower than on the street”.
The production team took additional measures inside the school to help test further ways to clean the air. They placed an air filter system into the classroom with the lowest air quality level and added a mineral mesh cover to the windows. Another filter was placed in the nursery at the school. They also planted a garden in the school grounds, putting hedges in and put up a natural ivy fence around the playground – all of which helped to purify the air.
“With the exception of the ivy screens and the filter system in the classroom, which unfortunately due to budget constraints were hired in for the filming, the rest of these measures have been kept by the school so with luck, the air in and around the school will be improved for the children for years to come”, said Jane.
On shoot days, the team took extra measures to make sure they weren’t inadvertently adding to the air pollution around the school.
“A lot of the team lived locally and took public transport to get to the school. When passenger cars were needed, we hired hybrid models through Green Tomato Cars, who double offset.”
For Love Productions, this was the first production that they’d put through albert certification. “It’s been a great process. By getting on and doing it, we’ve been able to able to see just what is possible and we now know what we can think about doing on future productions”
Dispatches: Britain’s Toxic Air Scandal received a ** star certification from albert.