Sun 18 Nov 2018
An increasing number of parents are shunning good schools because of the local air quality while some are even looking to move out of cities altogether, as fears over the effects of diesel emissions on health mount.
Last week a major study published in the Lancet found that pollution from diesel vehicles was stunting the growth of children’s lungs, leaving them damaged for life.
The research, conducted with more than 2,000 schoolchildren in London, was the first study in a city where diesel pollution is a significant factor.
“It found that children lost about 5% of their lung capacity,” said Sarah Macfadyen, head of policy and public affairs at British Lung Foundation, which, along with the environmental law group, Client Earth, has established the Clean Air Parents’ Network, a campaign group calling on politicians to improve air quality in towns and cities. “That’s something they won’t get back,” she said. “Something that throughout their lives will put them at risk of infections and breathing problems, all because of the air that they were breathing to and from school, to the park, just generally being out and about with their families.”
A welter of emerging data, including discussions in online forums, surveys of parents and anecdotal evidence from health charities, suggests that concerns among parents are becoming so prevalent that many now consider pollution the main factor when choosing a school, while a small but increasing number are eschewing urban environments altogether.