The Play Providers Association
11 September 2017

Polluted playgrounds pose a danger to thousands of children, analysis shows


Thousands of children are using playgrounds near to roads with illegal levels of pollution, according to new analysis.

More than 950 schools are near roads which have from harmful levels of illegal pollution, research found.

The findings that thousands of children are playing in playgrounds within 150 metres of roads with illegal air pollution across the UK comes from an assessment for environmental law charity ClientEarth of the latest government data.

A YouGov survey for the environmental lawyers found three quarters (76 per cent) of 1,141 parents and carers questioned want extra measures to protect pupils whose schools and playgrounds are in illegally-polluted areas.

More than half (57 per cent) of 1,658 adults questioned in the poll felt the Government was not acting quickly enough to tackle the UK's air quality problems.

Exhaust pipe
Harmful levels of pollution are found near hundreds of schools Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

Air pollution is linked to the early deaths of about 40,000 people a year in the UK, causes problems such as heart and lung diseases and asthma and affects children's development.

ClientEarth says children are being exposed to levels of nitrogen dioxide, NO2, at dangerous levels. There are legal limits on the levels of the toxic gas that can exist in the atmosphere.

ClientEarth is launching a Poisoned Playgrounds campaign which allows parents to see whether their child's school is near a road with illegal levels of air pollution, by entering the postcode into an online search.

Supporters of the campaign are being urged to put pressure on the Government, via their MPs, to take action to curb air pollution.

ClientEarth air quality lawyer Alan Andrews said: "Thousands of children in this country are playing in playgrounds near illegally polluted roads.

"This is a legal and moral failing of our political leaders that puts children's health at risk at a time when they are still growing and therefore vulnerable. Naturally, parents want something to be done. So do we."

The campaign also features a video of young children from two schools suffering from nearby air pollution.



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