Sunday Times exposé cites “potentially dangerous levels of air pollution” at Pippins School in Poyle

The Sunday Times has done an analysis of data from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, Defra’s pollution database, showing levels of NO2 across the UK. Defra estimates the NO2 emitted in each square kilometre of the UK by measuring the density of roads, rail and industry. Although the inventory does not measure the concentration of NO2 in the air, it is a strong indicator of potentially high levels. In some cases, The Sunday Times has been able to use readings of NO2 levels from monitoring stations to confirm high levels. They looked at schools, and found that Pippins School in Poyle, close to Heathrow, is the second most polluted school in the UK. It had 205 tonnes of NO2 per square km, per year.  Another school in the area, Cranford Primary School, was the 5th highest (165 tonnes NO2/km2/year). The school that got the very worst readings may be adversely affected by a diesel train depot nearby.  The study looked at schools with levels above 25 tonnes per square kilometre, which is six times the national average. Two schools in Yorkshire, near the M1, with levels of NO2 of around 50 tonnes per km sq will close soon, and the pupils will be re-located, as the location is deemed too unhealthy.

Map showing location of Pippins school.


Sunday Times exposé cites “potentially dangerous levels of air pollution” at Pippins School in Poyle

by ADMIN (Colnbrook Views)
11 OCTOBER, 2015

The Sunday Times today names Pippins School in Poyle as the second most polluted in the country, with children and staff facing “potentially dangerous levels of air pollution”.

More than 200 tons of NO2 are released annually around Pippins Primary School, the Sunday Times reveals today following a major investigation.

The newspaper has identified that up to 3,000 British schools are sited in areas with potentially dangerous levels of air pollution – which is classes as anywhere with annual emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) exceeding 25 tons a square kilometre.

The Sunday Times has overlaid the locations of England’s 20,000 state schools against data from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, Defra’s pollution database, to identify 3,000 which lie within the most heavily polluted areas.

But some, it has found, are far worse. Pippins, its figures show, is experiencing pollution levels nearly 50 times the national average. It is the second worst in the country, behind a school in Leicester adjacent to a depot for diesel locomotives. Defra and the Department for Education have said schools are responsible for protecting children from air pollution, telling the newspaper:

“Schools must have a health-and-safety policy for which the head teacher is responsible”.

The Sunday Times article cites an example of two schools in South Yorkshire close to the M1 motorway in an area with about 50 tons of NO2 emitted. Sheffield council has deemed the location so unsafe that later this year the schools will be the first in the UK to be shut because of air pollution.

Colnbrook Primary does not fare anywhere near as badly as Pippins in the study, but is also one of the 3,000 schools it says are at risk.

Pollution from diesel vehicles, trains or industry is blamed and hot spots in the pollution maps provided primarily align to motorways – and to the airport.

Slough Borough Council, the article says, wants a speed limit on the M4 to cut emissions. No such proposal was provided in the recent air quality plan submitted to address the April Supreme Court ruling on air quality.

Although, as Colnbrook Views revealed a fortnight ago, SBC indicated its preference for a low emissions zone to cut emissions on the motorway it said it was powerless to act as the M4 is outside its jurisdiction.





The Sunday Times article (£)

3,000 schools face threat of toxic diesel

Josh Boswell and Jonathan Leake 

11 October 2015

The schools are all at locations where annual emissions of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas from diesel vehicles, trains or industry exceed 25 tons a square kilometre — six times the national average, according to an analysis of data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

What Defra’s data shows is that the number of schools in areas with similarly dangerous pollution levels could be far higher than realised.

Similarly, about 50 tons of NO2 are emitted around Tinsley Nursery Infant School and Tinsley Meadows Primary School, South Yorkshire. Both lie within 50 yards of the M1, close to junction 34. Sheffield council has deemed the location so unsafe that later this year the schools will be the first in the UK to be shut because of air pollution. Pupils will move to a new site.


See full article at:

The schools lie in pollution hotspots where more than 25 tonnes of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) per square kilometre has been emitted in a single year, according to data from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The most polluted places saw emissions of more than 300 tonnes.




Hillingdon Council on the loss of the Cranford Agreement

Hillingdon Council’s Head of Planning wrote a report for the council on the impact of losing the Cranford Agreement (an agreement that has been in operation for decades, for there not to be take offs to the east from the northern runway). The impact of the extra noise on Cranford Primary School is mentioned – it is suggested that the school would need to be moved. Air quality changes are touched on, though not dealt with in detail.



Air pollution may affect babies even before birth and reduce lung size for life

The Sunday Times (Jonathan Leake) reports that a study has indicated that air pollution in Britain’s cities is stunting the growth of children’s lungs, and could reduce their lung capacity by 5% or more. It appears that toxic particles and gases emitted mainly by diesel vehicles disrupt lung growth, with damage starting to be inflicted in the womb. There is also separate research that indicates that babies gestated in areas with high air pollution levels are born with smaller heads, with the reduction in circumference directly related to air pollution levels. Dr Ian Mudway, of King’s College London, who has been involved in a 6-year study into how air pollution affects children in east London in Tower Hamlets and Hackney, said the evidence indicates the effect of air pollution start in the earliest years of life. Children’s lungs by the age nine are already smaller than they ought to be and their lung impairment continues throughout life. Air pollution gases and particles damage the linings of the lung, which is not good at mending itself, and retains the deficit for life. “Children are vulnerable because their lungs are developing so fast and their defences are not evolved. They also spend more time outside.”



Retired Gatwick GP warns of health impact of Gatwick runway, especially on those vulnerable to asthma and respiratory illness

A retired GP, who worked in Langley Green for nearly 40 years, believes a 2nd Gatwick runway would lead to a ‘disastrous’ increase in Crawley’s air pollution. He feels that increased pollution from planes and vehicle traffic would worsen high levels of respiratory illnesses in neighbourhoods near the airport.  Over this time as a GP he had seen quite a substantial rise in the number of respiratory illnesses, particularly asthma, particularly in children. He said “the last thing you would want to do is make that worse” and that the airport’s effect on the increasing rate of lung-related conditions across the area played on his mind during his medical career. He said in Crawley almost 10% of his patients were from South Asian origin, a group that is known to have a higher than average incidence of asthma and greater than average need for emergency admission to hospital for asthma. But little thought seems to have been given to their welfare. He also questions the provision of extra medical facilities that would be needed if there was a new runway.