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Campaigners call for ‘radical action’ after two Brent schools found to have illegal air pollution levels

PUBLISHED: 07:48 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 11:00 31 May 2018

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launches the first of 50 'air quality audits' at Prior Weston Primary School in central London, which is located close to a busy road which has pollution levels that are twice the legal limit. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan launches the first of 50 'air quality audits' at Prior Weston Primary School in central London, which is located close to a busy road which has pollution levels that are twice the legal limit. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

PA Archive/PA Images

Air quality campaigners want “radical action” after Sadiq Khan’s audit found children at two primary schools in Brent are routinely exposed to illegal levels of pollution.

Clean Air for Brent officially launched in Willesden (Picture: Clean Air for BrentClean Air for Brent officially launched in Willesden (Picture: Clean Air for Brent

Clean Air for Brent is calling for the town hall and TfL to take urgent measures to improve the quality of air being breathed by pupils at John Keble in Harlesden and Ark Franklin in Kensal Rise.

They want all main roads in Brent to become low emission bus zones, lorries to be banned from the same roads during the school run and the number of kids being dropped off and picked up by car to be halved.

Chair of the group Fiona Mulaisho said: “It is time to stop playing God with children’s lives.

“Even if the children walk to school they have to walk on the roads with buses.

“We know what the problem is so stop sitting around ignoring the problem and deal with it. In Chamberlayne Road there are 12,000 diesel buses weekly. Brent Council needs funding to deal with it.”

The campaign group also wants the council scrap its “bizarre” policy to offer more teacher parking permits to schools that have a greener travel plan for pupils.

Member Robin Sharp told the Times: “It’s madness. The children are being taught not to come by car and if they do the teachers are rewarded by being given permits to come by car. It’s perverse.

“I know some teachers need to drive in but if there is to be a scheme it should reflect the number of teachers in the school.”

The council said it had no plans to alter the reward policy, but said it takes air pollution very seriously. A spokeswoman added that chiefs worked closely with schools to promote healthier travel options and the No Idling campaign helped schools stop school run parents idling outside.

She said: “No council alone can solve an issue which affects all London boroughs. That’s why we continue to work with the Mayor of London’s office to support his proposals for improving air quality in the city, including the introduction of Low Emission Bus Zones. The government cannot continue to stand idly by when air quality is at risk in the UK, this is an issue that requires national intervention.”

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