Green campaigner DONNACHADH McCARTHY on our polluted schools

News Desk (28 July, 2016) Columnists

Secondary school including Sacred Heart, All Saints, St Olav’s, Globe, Walworth, UAE, City of London, Harris Peckham, and East Dulwich are all dealing with a harmful environment

11037News columnist Donnachadh McCarthy

Southwark Council is endangering the health of thousands of our school kids, yet another report out this month shows.

The report, prepared for London Mayor Khan, reveals Southwark has the most secondary schools breaching EU safety limits for transport pollution in London.  A previous report said Southwark also has the highest number of primary schools whose air is breaking safety limits.

Among the schools where our children are being poisoned at above EU limits are the Sacred Heart, All Saints, St Olav’s, Globe, Walworth, UAE, City of London, Harris Peckham and East Dulwich secondary schools.

This is now a full scale health emergency but Southwark continues to do almost nothing to protect our children’s lives.  It is the motor lobby and developers who lethally dictate their lack of action.

Take the latest scandal where the council allowed developers to block all future protected cycle lanes on Rotherhithe New Road, at its junction with St James’s Road, allowing them to build right up to the pavement at this dangerous bottle-neck.

Children cycling to school or to Southwark Park will now never be able to cycle on a protected lane at this location.  Meanwhile, the council is not building a single protected cycle-lane anywhere on the borough roads that it controls.  All new Cycle Highways are on Transport for London routes.

Even worse, new planning guidance for the entire Old Kent Road area, now out for consultation until September, as usual misleads in its introduction, where it says the new plan will provide protection for cycling.  Detailed plans show there is NO protected cycle lane planned for the road, just like they refused to do in the new Aylesbury and Heygate.

So the kids at the Walworth Academy will continue to breathe polluted toxins from the Old Kent Road.

Research has shown that transport pollution damages lung growth for life in young children.  It is also implicated in the asthma epidemic sweeping Southwark’s schools and also causes cancers, lung and heart diseases.

If you want Southwark to start taking real action on this emergency, a good first step would be to email them atfuturepeckham@southwark.gov.uk and urge them to install a protected cycle highway along the entire length of the Old Kent Road.

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