The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) welcomes London mayor Sadiq Khan's announcement to begin the first of 50 'air quality audits' for primary schools in the worst polluted areas in London, in order to help protect children from 'toxic' air in the capital.
RCP spokesperson Professor Stephen Holgate said:
The RCP welcomes plans to audit the air quality of primary schools in the worst polluted areas in London as announced by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The Royal College of Physicians' joint report with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health published last year, Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution, found that children attending school near busy roads suffer more from high levels of air pollution, and are more vulnerable to the long-term health harms associated with poor air quality because of their age.
Among our recommendations, we called on the government to empower local authorities to be able to protect public health, particularly that of children. When air pollution levels are high, local authorities must have the power to close or divert roads to reduce the volume of traffic, especially near schools, which will help reduce the levels of pollution that children are exposed to.
The announcement of these audits is a positive step towards minimising the long-term health impacts of air pollution. We hope that this approach will improve air quality not just here in the capital, but that other areas of the UK suffering from low air quality will also begin to implement such strategies.