Thames Water will be going to hundreds of schools to remove most of the remaining lead pipes.

The company has been replacing old lead pipes with new ones for years, and it will be completing its work in a further 206 schools in London - including those in Enfield.

It will use the summer holidays and empty playgrounds to remove the lead 'communication' pipes - these are the pipes from the water main to the edge of the school boundary.

The pipes inside the boundary are the schools’ responsibility, although Thames Water experts said it will work with property owners to reduce any lead risk.

The water company's long-term aim is to eliminate the risk of lead from its drinking water network.

Thames Water surveyed around 2,000 London schools for younger pupils built before the 1970s, and around 450 of those needed lead replacement work.

Work has been completed in more than 200 schools so far, including 80 over April half term. Most of the remaining jobs are set to be finished before classes start again in September.

Any outstanding work is expected to take place over October half term.

In total, 12,500 lead communication pipes – the largest in a single year – were identified and replaced across London and the Thames Valley in 2018/19.

Tim McMahon, Thames Water’s head of water networks, said: “It’s been a fantastic team effort over the last year, working at record pace with primary schools and nurseries across London, as well as customers across our wider region, to find and replace the old lead pipework. This and the freedom to step-up the pace over the summer holidays has put us firmly on track to ensure we can complete this important piece of work on schedule by December.

“Our long term aim, as part of building a better future for our region, is to eliminate the risk of lead from our entire drinking water network. It’s a key area of focus for the company, and we’re committed to working closely with our customers to deliver the change.”

If drinking water stands in contact with lead pipework for a period of time, lead may dissolve into the water which can present a risk to public health.

In response, Thames Water has introduced several initiatives over the last two decades.

The company will identify and replace more than 50,000 lead communication pipes as part of its business plan for 2020-25.