In response to Monday’s announcement that ‘air audits’ will be conducted in 50 London Schools, after ‘very high’ air pollution in the city this week, Sophie Neuburg, Friends of the Earth London Campaigner, has release the following response:
“We strongly welcome any action to protect children’s growing lungs, and no-idling zones around schools are an important way to reduce children’s exposure to pollution.
“But schools shouldn’t have to take dramatic steps such as moving playgrounds and entrances to keep their pupils safe – London’s children deserve better.
“The Mayor’s policies to clean up London’s air are a good first step but they do not go far enough. Planning rules must be changed so new schools can’t be built next to air pollution hotspots. And Sadiq Khan must listen to the growing calls from health groups and campaigners and commit to ban diesel on London’s roads by 2025.”
The environmental campaign group is calling for the London Mayor to:
• Commit to phase out diesel vehicles in London by 2025 – following similar commitments by Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City
• Expand the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) for all vehicles across the whole of London, and bring it in as soon as possible
• Invest more in cycling and public transport to give people better alternatives to driving, and don’t allow road-building to add to the problem
• Explore solutions, adopted by other cities, such as mandatory pollution stickers for cars – so the worst can be banned on high pollution days, and making public transport free on days of high pollution.