Number of London schools with illegally toxic air drops 95 per cent in four years

By Jessie Mathewson, Local Democracy Reporter

The number of London schools with illegally toxic air has dropped dramatically since 2016 – down 95 per cent in four years.

More than two million Londoners lived in areas over the legal limit for air pollution four years ago, but that figure is down 94 per cent to 119,000 people.

Just 25 schools had illegal levels of dirty air last year – dropping from 671 in 2016 – and there are now no outer London schools in highly toxic areas.

Six inner London boroughs – Lambeth, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Islington – still have state schools that breach the limits.

The main pollutants in the capital are nitrogen dioxide, a by-product of diesel engines, and particulate matter, micro-dust that can penetrate the lungs and enter the bloodstream.

Both can cause stunted lung growth in children and worsen chronic illnesses like asthma and heart disease.

Meanwhile almost a quarter (24 per cent) of inner London roads still have illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Pictured top: Pollution in the air around London’s schools has dramatically improved over the past four years

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