Assembly member Jenny Jones launches webpage showing proximity of capital’s schools to roads with high levels of pollution
A webpage showing the proximity of schools in the capital to roads with high levels of traffic has been launched by London Assembly member Jenny Jones in a bid to increase public awareness of air quality.
The ‘how polluted is my school?’ webpage allows users to identify the 1,148 schools located within 150 metres of roads used by 10,000 or more vehicles per day and at substantial risk from air pollution.
According to the Greater London Authority (GLA), scientific research indicates that children exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution this close to roads travelled by 10,000 vehicles could be responsible for around 15-30% of all new cases of childhood asthma.
And, based on the Mayor of London’s projections for pollution levels in 2020, there will still be 928 London schools within 150 metres of main roads exceeding national nitrogen dioxide limits.
Green Party member Ms Jones criticised London Mayor Boris Johnson for “dithering and delaying in introducing effective measures to tackle air pollutionâ€?.
She said: “Pupils who attend a school by a busy polluted road would be exposed to harmful levels of vehicle pollution during their school years. We need big ideas like reducing traffic by lowering fares, with improved public transport and cycling facilities.â€?
Furthermore, she called for additional measures to reduce the impact of air pollution at schools, such: as no engine idling campaigns outside schools; green roofs and plants to cut airbourne particulates; and low energy ventilation systems to ensure fresh air within school buildings.
She said: “The Mayor should at the very least boost his Clean Air Fund for worst affected schools, to enable them to take measures to reduce children’s exposure, within the school and through their travel.â€?
Additionally, Ms Jones criticised the Mayor after it emerged this week that 78% of main roads in London break the European legal limits for nitrogen dioxide, including all those in Camden, the City of London and Kensington and Chelsea.
In the borough of Bromley, meanwhile, 45% of main roads were in breach of nitrogen dioxide limits.
Commenting on this, Ms Jones said: “Anyone who is shopping, working, or regularly travelling along London’s main road network needs to be aware that this is a problem right across the capital. The Mayor needs to be tackling air pollution in the suburbs as well as inner London.â€?
The Green Party member also sits on the London Assembly’s Environment Committee, which in July urged the London Mayor to bring forward its plans for an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London from its current planned date of 2020 (see airqualitynews.com story).
Ms Jones said of the Mayor: “His proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone won’t help much in outer London. He needs to focus on reducing traffic by lowering fares and improving public transport, walking and cycling.”