Boris Flyover could see Waddon pollution levels match Eton

Out to the west of London, the Highways Agency reckons that expanding the M4 to a four-lane motorway will see European rules on exhaust pollution levels broken, harming the future potential of boys at Prime Minister David Cameron’s old school, the £34,000-per-year Eton College. One of Eton’s other alumni is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

IMG_1786[1]Meanwhile, the Mayor of London, that very same Boris Johnson, is proposing to build a flyover on the A232 from the Purley Way, and extend four lanes of fumes-belching traffic potentially by building through a public park towards the Croydon Flyover. This will take the extra traffic right past three Croydon state schools: St Andrew’s High and Parish Church Nursery and Primary.

“90 per cent certain” of going ahead was the view expressed by one of the supposedly impartial Transport for London officials at a Waddon consultation session in the past month, when it was also conceded that at the eastern end of the proposed bridge over Waddon Station, extra lanes will need to be built on Duppas Hill Road to avoid simply moving the traffic bottleneck from the Fiveways junction to another part of the roads network.

Waddon’s three Labour councillors have been suspiciously quiet on the matter, providing no leadership before the deadline for the public consultation this weekend, while the £87 million road-building scheme is enthusiastically backed by a local MP with an interest in providing – at vast public expense – a route into the Hammersfield supermall.

It is an interesting contrast between the outrage created by a similar polluting threat to the pupils at one of the world’s most famous private schools, and the near-absence of attention to a similar outcome for pupils attending a state comprehensive in south London.

st andrew's school badgeInside Croydon understands that the road-building scheme was raised at a St Andrew’s governors’ meeting held this week, and that the headmaster, David Matthews, attended the extra consultation session staged last night. But little seems likely to filter through the parents of pupils at the three schools in time for them to form an opinion and participate in the consultation.

According to the Campaign for Better Transport, levels of nitrogen dioxide at Junction 6 of the M4, close to the precious playing fields of Eton where Boris and Call Me Dave used to play rugger, are already at illegal levels. Adding an extra lane there would make the noxious pollution worse. Down here in Waddon, Transport for London has not even bothered doing any environmental impact work or providing any pollution measurement figures to inform its what it has called its “Transforming Fiveways” consultation.

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee has proposed the introduction of Low Emissions Zones to combat the high levels of pollution already seen near hundreds of schools across the country. Yet here in Croydon, our council and London Mayor Boris Johnson want to spend public money to blight homes, to tarmac over a public park and to increase traffic levels on the A232 alongside three schools.

In whose interest are they pushing forward this scheme?

  • Inside Croydon wrote to the Waddon councillors more that a week ago to ask what they intended to do about the Boris Flyover consultation. We have yet to receive as much as an acknowledgement.
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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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