CROYDON COMMENTARY: Our coverage of the planning permission granted to a Harris Federation primary school beside the A23 Purley Way has drawn widespread condemnation from readers. Here, CONNIE MINTON vents her feelings about the long-term health dangers of air pollution
This planning decision by our council is shameful on many levels. The environmental department, children’s services, transport and public health departments at Croydon Council can collectively hang their heads in shame for selling out.
We already know that particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide pollution is becoming a leading cause of heart disease, lung disease and cancer in adults.
But children are disproportionately affected by pollution. Their metabolism is higher, they spend more time outdoors, they are the right height to breathe in pollution from cars, and the damage is life long.
In the womb, pollution from vehicle exhausts is linked to neuro-behavioural disorders, in children it is a recognised cause of neurological and respiratory disease and has been shown to stunt children’s lung growth by around 10 per cent.
Croydon Council is not only ignoring this compelling evidence, they are also ignoring the evidence on growing obesity and lack of physical activity in children – walking along a polluted and busy road is not going to be a major incentive for people to walk or cycle to school.
Pollution is greatest inside cars, second greatest at the kerbside, and only reduces with increasing distance from exhausts.
Therefore, driving children to school is not going to “hermetically seal” them from pollution, but expose them to it the most.
And don’t even get me started on air circulation systems in sealed off buildings…
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