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Thousands of Sussex pupils exposed to toxic fumes as schools near congested roads
Almost 15,000 pupils could be putting their health at risk by attending one of more than 50 schools within metres of heavily congested roads, according to a new report.
Thousands of pupils go to schools that lie within 150 metres of roads which have more than 10,000 cars passing through each day.
South East MEP Keith Taylor, who obtained the figures, claims this is putting their health at risk.
The Green MEP added thousands of pupils could be exposed to potentially dangerous levels of pollutants including nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and ground level ozone which can cause both respiratory and heart problems.
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The former Brighton and Hove City councillor also claimed that living near such heavily used roads can be attributed to almost a third of new asthma cases in children as well as affecting the development of lung capacity.
Thirty-two schools in East Sussex holding almost 10,000 pupils including Ringmer Community College, Cross-in-Hand Church of England Primary School and Ocklynge Junior School in Eastbourne are included in the report.
In West Sussex, 19 schools educating almost 5000 pupils including Burgess Hill School For Girls, Our Lady of Sion School in Worthing and Kingslea Primary School in Horsham.
A further 8,000 pupils from 26 East Sussex schools and more than 27,000 pupils from 57 West Sussex schools are educated less than 500 metres from heavy traffic roads.
Mr Taylor said: “This report makes clear just how many children in the region are going to school near busy roads that are likely to be very polluted.
“It’s abundantly clear that action on air pollution is needed, many of our towns and cities need to radically rethink the way they are dealing with air pollution and to protect people’s health we need local authorities need to be bold in tackling air pollution.
“We need clean public transport options, plus a huge improvement in the numbers of people cycling and walking.”
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said that air quality in the county is “generally good” and work was ongoing to reduce pollution in the “few areas of poorer air quality”.
He said that new “sustainable transport measures” to encourage more residents to choose walking and cycling were being delivered thanks to £3.7 million funding from the Department of Transport in 2012.
He added: “This scheme is making a real difference in showing families how walking and cycling can be fitted into their daily lives for short local journeys, contributing to reducing local congestion and pollution around schools and in the county generally and supporting health improvement. ”
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