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Illegal NO2 levels near four nurseries put pupils’ health at risk

PUBLISHED: 18:08 12 April 2017 | UPDATED: 18:08 12 April 2017

Illegal levels of pollution were recorded near four nurseries.

Illegal levels of pollution were recorded near four nurseries.

PA/EMPICS

A leading clean air campaigner has warned parents about the invisible danger that pollution poses to small children.

Anna Jones, from Greenpeace, issued the message after it was revealed that more than 1,000 nurseries across England, including four in Havering, are within 150m of roads that break the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels.

European regulations state that there should be no more than 40 micrograms (mcg) of NO2 per cubic metre of air.

New Beginnings Day Nursery, St Edwards RC Church Pre-School, both in Romford, and Family 1st, in Gidea Park, all recorded 43.5mcg whilst Ladybird Nursery, in Rainham, recorded 42.94mcg.

The results of the investigation from Greenpeace is a cause for concern for parents as pollution can cause asthma, stunt lung development and lead to respiratory problems later in life.

“Most people don’t realise that all across the country, toddlers are being exposed to invisible air pollution caused by diesel vehicles,” said Anna.

“At such a young age, children are extremely vulnerable to its effects, and it can cause long-lasting health impacts and reduced lung function.

“What’s clear is that moving nurseries is not the solution. Avoiding dangerous air pollution just isn’t an option if you live in an urban area.

“People also live near these roads, and have to use them to get around. The only way to make our communities safe is to tackle air pollution head on.”

Cllr Osman Dervish (Con, Pettits), cabinet member for environment, said:

“We are concerned about the air quality in a few areas in the borough, and we are working to address this problem. However, Havering’s air quality as a whole remains amongst the cleanest in London.”

For Anna the only way to deal with the problem is for the government and car companies to work together.

“To fix this problem we need wholesale transformation on our roads away from diesel and towards hybrid and electric vehicles.

“Both the government and the car companies need to work urgently to fix this.”

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