Don’t build homes in ‘air pollution hotspots,’ experts warn

New schools and affordable housing targeted at young families should not be built in ‘known pollution hotspots,’ the London Assembly has been told. 

Speaking at a meeting of the Assembly’s environment committee, Dr. Ian Mudway from Imperial College London warned that the long-term health risks associated with air pollution should force local authorities to reconsider where they build schools and houses. 

The Assembly was told that evidence from the past decade is showing that exposing children to high levels of air pollution is ‘storing up illness within the population’ which will make London more vulnerable to diseases in the future.

black sedan parked beside brown concrete building during daytime

Dr Mudway said: ‘Knowing that there’s an association between poor air quality and children’s respiratory health and development across time, what we should absolutely not be doing is building new schools, or building cheap and affordable housing for young families, in areas which are known pollution hotspots within our city.

‘I know there are some conflicting and intersecting issues here, but I can think of many examples within London where I see new builds occurring in places which, if you were really concerned about children’s health, you would never be building them there and you certainly wouldn’t be targeting them to young families.’

In related news, children experiencing social disadvantage in their first few years of life have a greatly increased risk of asthma persisting into adulthood, a study has found.


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2 years ago

Very important. But how will it be known if the area is an air pollution hotspot? Wouldn’t that necessitate air quality assessments on housing estates and the locations where any new schools are destined to be built? I see the plan is to avoid places that are already known to be polluted, as in London, but what about towns or suburban areas where the air quality is not even being measured? I think all UK local authorities should be obliged to monitor and report the air quality where families live and go to school, especially if there ia a very busy road nearby.

P Mill
P Mill
2 years ago

With the current obsession with wood burning stoves, there’s going to be high levels of pollution wherever you build homes. For many years new houses have been built without a chimney, but some of the most recent new developments have chimneys and wood burners installed.

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