London’s BAME primary schoolchildren experience worse pollution

London primary schools with higher proportions of BAME children are located in areas with worse pollution, according to new analysis.

NGO Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) revealed the imbalance using data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government’s Breathe London pilot project.

This follows an unprecedented coroner’s ruling in December 2020 making Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah the first person in the UK to have ‘pollution’ listed as a cause of death.

Reporter Clifford Mason spoke to Oliver Lord (Environmental Defense Fund) and Andrea Parker (Bonneville Primary School)

EDF’s head of policy and campaigns Oliver Lord said: “Schoolchildren are some of the most vulnerable in society to air pollution.

“We want to see any expansion of the ultra-low emission zone that’s had a big impact on central London for air pollution.

“But bringing it more into areas where more schools are captured and where people actually live would really benefit the city.”

Lord said Transport for London’s red routes – the roads carrying 30% of London’s traffic – form part of the problem.

Andrea Parker is headteacher at Bonneville Primary School in Lambeth – London’s most polluted borough, as well as having the biggest population of black people.

She said: “To be able to pin point it to those red routes, and be able to see exactly how close schools are – we’re right by the south circular, so yes, it is a concern.”

Find out more about London’s pollution problem at Environmental Defense Fund’s website.

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