One hundred London head teachers ask Mayor to curb pollution around schools

This week the mayor of London issued London’s first ever ‘very high’ air pollution warning.

The warnings are being issued at places like bus stops, on roadside signs and tube stations as part of a new alert system set up by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

The rise has been attributed to cold, calm and settled weather, meaning winds are not dispersing local pollutants.

But this isn’t the first time London’s air can be classed as dangerous. London’s air has been toxic for a while now, and is responsible for cutting almost 10,000 people’s lives short every year.

Last year it was revealed 433 primary schools and 86 secondary schools in London are in areas that exceed air pollution limits.

Air pollution can cause asthma in otherwise healthy children, can stunt children’s lung growth permanently by up to 10%, and is linked to strokes, heart disease and diabetes in older people.

London is one of the worst polluted cities in Europe. Worse than Paris where they are making public transport free to reduce air pollution!

Twenty of London’s children met with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to hand in a letter, signed by more than one hundred head teachers, asking him to protect London’s children from airpollution.

In the letter, coordinated by Greenpeace, heads asked the Mayor for measures to tackle diesel vehicles, to make good on his promise of a robust Ultra-Low Emissions Zone and make walking and cycling to school safer and easier. View the letter here.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Every child deserves the right to breathe clean air in London and it is a shameful fact that more than 360 of our primary schools are in areas breaching legal pollution limits. Yesterday I was forced to issue the first ‘very high’ air pollution alert under my new comprehensive system, London’s filthy air is a health crisis and our children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of air pollution. This is why I’m doing everything in my power to safeguard Londoners’ health and my new air quality audits are a strong step towards helping some of the most polluted schools in London identify effective solutions to protect pupils from toxic fumes.

“Alongside my plans to bring forward the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, and extend it along some of our busiest roads, plus new charges for the dirtiest vehicles and greener bus fleets — these measures will start to deliver real change in the long term. Now it is time for government to get a grip on air quality and match my ambition.”

Sadiq Khan is listening, but the Government isn’t.

Air pollution in the UK causes 40,000 premature deaths each year. Lots of things contribute to this crisis, but there’s one obvious place to start — the thousands of new diesel cars rolling onto our roads every day. Diesel cars were sold as a green choice, but car makers lied about how much they pollute. The government admits there’s a problem, but they’re not doing nearly enough to fix it.

Sign the petition to tell Theresa May to cut diesel pollution— stop putting new diesel cars on the road, and accelerate the shift to cleaner, greener road transport.

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