Parents should be banned from parking at school gates in bid to cut air pollution, campaigners say

'Parents are right to be concerned as this toxic air can trigger asthma attacks and stunt children’s lung growth, affecting their health as they grow up'

Pollution in London
Pollution in London

Parents should be banned from the school gates at dropoff and pickup times, campaigners say.

Pollution from the school run is putting children’s health at risk, charity Living Streets has warned.

A new report, delivered to transport minister Jesse Norman, calls for urgent action to be taken by the government, local authorities and schools to enable more children to walk to and from school.

One recommendation includes eliminating traffic outside the school gates completely in an attempt to ease air pollution, encourage more walking, and provide a safer space for children to play.

More than two in five (42 per cent) of parents are concerned about levels of air pollution around their child’s school, according to new research released by the charity on Walk to School Week.

Three in 10 parents have been put off walking their children to school because of poor air quality and over a fifth (21 per cent) wrongly believe children are protected from pollution inside the car.

Jenni Wiggle, from the charity Living Streets, said: “More children walking to school means fewer vehicles on the road and improved air quality for everyone.

“We would like to see more local authorities working with schools to ban people from driving up to the school gate – adding to air pollution, congestion and road danger during dropoff and pickup.”

According to the latest report from the National Audit Office, 85 per cent of UK “air quality zones” still exceed legal pollution limits eight years after the deadline for meeting them elapsed.

Andrea Lee, from the environmental law organisation ClientEarth, said: “Children are particularly vulnerable to the illegal and harmful levels of air pollution that can be found across the country.

“Parents are right to be concerned as this toxic air can not only trigger asthma attacks but can also stunt children’s lung growth affecting their health as they grow up.

“This is a problem that can be fixed. We need urgent action by the UK government and local authorities to take the most polluting vehicles out of the most polluted parts of our towns and cities.

“But they also need to help people move over to cleaner forms of transport, like public transport and walking, to give them real alternatives.”

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