What others are saying
Among the locals urging the Council not to go ahead with the road closures are: N16 Tots, N is for Nursery, Coconut Nursery, Imam Abdullah Rawat of Musallaa an Noor Mosque, Rev Dilly Baker of St Mary's Church, William Patten Day Care, StokeyParents, The Londesborough, Shine, Earlybird Cards, The Green Room Cafe, Askew Eyewear, Spence Bakery, The Last Crumb, Andi's, Metal Crumble, N16 Flowers, Kontact Hair Salon, Kitchen Provisions and Nook.
Professor Jonathan Grigg described the impact displacing 2,080 extra vehicles a day past local primary schools (a 21 % increase in traffic) could have.
He said such a large traffic increase could expose schoolchildren to: “increased risk of the effects that we know of - supressing lung growth, new onset asthma and, in younger children, an increased risk of pneumonia.”
He said: “Councils should be reducing traffic outside all schools – not increasing it.”
Prof. Jonathan Grigg, leading professor of paediatrics and respiratory medicine at Queen Mary University London. Professor Grigg is the leading UK paediatrician in the effects of air pollution. His studies have informed the public on the risks of air pollution and influenced national policy. He was a lead author of the Royal College of Physicians’ Report on the long-term effects of air pollution.
“It is an outrage that more than 800 schools, nurseries and other educational institutions are in areas breaching legal air pollution limits”
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
“With your concerns in mind, I have written to the London Borough of Hackney to make sure the consequences of these road closures are properly considered. I have asked Mayor Glanville for reassurance that the council has considered the effects of the road closures proposal, as it is in contest with clean air initiatives.
As I am sure Mayor Glanville would agree, all children in Hackney have a right to a clean and healthy learning environment, and together we will work to address these concerns.”
MP Dianne Abbot
Hackney Mayor, Philip Glanville, at the full council meeting in February, in response to our concerns expressed at the meeting, said: “No more pollution at schools”.
Council Spokesperson: In an email to one of the group members on 25th January 2018, Hackney Council suggested it might be necessary to close part of the playground where the pollution levels are bad. They said: “Based on the monitoring obtained so far and our audit of the school we provided an indication of some of the measures that would probably be proposed for the school, including:
An air quality warning system to let the school know when air quality is likely to exceed short term NAQO’s for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, and;
As a precaution restrict access to the portion of the playground adjoining Stoke Newington Church Street until air quality improves along the borough’s roads.
Heidi Early of card shop Earlybird, said Church Street already has bad congestion at times and the pollution levels are so high they mainly keep their door closed. She added: “There are continual disagreements between motorists.
“Any further congestion at that junction will undoubtedly have a detrimental effect on our business. All these changes that the Council makes only ever seem to tinker and make the situation worse. They never seem to consider the business impact.”
“We’re shocked that they think increasing pollution at the school is fair game. Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, which can stunt lung growth."
Lucy Harbor, Air Quality Expert.
“These very young children have the right not to breathe filthy air when they’re at school – putting forward a proposal to restrict their use of the playground while at the same time heaping more traffic on them, is a clear violation of their most basic rights."
Sally Newsom, Clean Air for William Patten Group
Dr Guddi Singh, a North London paediatrician, described how, as pollen rises with the temperatures, pollutants like nitrogen oxides congeal with pollen to create super-pollens that can be deadly. She said: “This noxious cocktail is claiming the lives of children across London, particularly those who live near busy roads or in low-lying areas; 24% of London’s primary schools are in areas that breach the legal limits on NOx.
She added: “My crowded children’s ward might seem like a medical problem, but it’s not. It’s a political problem. Our politicians are too reluctant to put up the right legislation or enforce the laws we do have.”