Open letter to Sadiq Khan from London's headteachers

Posted by Neil Jones — 23 January 2017 at 10:17am - Comments
Children crossing a road near a red London bus
All rights reserved. Credit: Elizabeth Dalziel

Dear Sadiq Khan,

We are headteachers who represent schools from across London. Our schools are in areas where our children and young people are being forced to breathe some of the most toxic air in London, and the country as a whole.

We welcome the bold commitments you have made to clean up London’s air.

As you have acknowledged, London’s air is toxic and illegal. Almost a quarter of school children in the capital are exposed to levels of air pollution that are so high that they break legal limits. Children are the ones who are most vulnerable to poor air quality. From asthma, to effects on mental and cognitive health - polluted air is bad for children. We know that early age exposure to air pollution can cause life long impacts, including reduced lung function, harm to the heart, brain, hormone and immune systems, and increased risk of lung cancer.

On behalf of our children, we are calling on you to act on your promises and use all the powers you have to ensure that our children breathe safe clean air.

We support your proposal for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to be extended beyond central London, at least up to the north and south circulars and with the option for boroughs in outer London to opt in, to benefit children and schools across London. The success of such a zone will be measured by how soon and how effectively it is implemented. As well as measures to tackle dirty diesel vehicles on our roads, we need urgent and strong action to make walking and cycling to school safer and easier, increase access to affordable and dependable public transport for families, and speed up the switch to clean green vehicles.

Strong leadership is needed to help London boroughs put in place shorter term measures to protect our children now - such as traffic management measures, clean air walking and cycling routes to schools and no idling policies.

It is also clear that London government’s efforts will have to be complemented by that of the national government to ensure that children across the UK are breathing safe air. Air pollution knows no boundaries and we hope you can work with the national government to deliver the promise of clean air for all, starting with tough action on toxic levels of air pollution from diesel vehicles.

While some mayors may judge their period in office by the height of the buildings they saw built, we believe you can do something far bigger. If you reduce air pollution across a large swathe of the city, then long after your tenure has ended there will be generations of children who will live longer and healthier lives. That would be a greater monument to your mayoralty than any skyscraper could ever be.

Yours sincerely,

Wayne Pedro, John Perry Primary School, Philip Taylor, All Saints' CofE, Childs Hill, Sally King, The Squires Lane Learning Federation, Steve Carroll, Mapledown School, Lynda Walker, Oak Lodge Special School, Hugh Vivian, Hollickwood Primary School, Jeanette Adak, Monkfrith Primary School, Lisa Meyer, Sunnyfields Primary School, Janine Ryan, Ark Franklin Primary Academy, Audrey Kendall, Leopold Primary School, Patrick Foley, Southborough Primary School, Helen Tyler, St Joseph's Catholic Primary School, Blair Thomson,Fleet Primary School, Isobel Gaffney, Rosary Catholic Primary School, Adam Young, St George the Martyr Primary, James Humphries, Kentish Town C of E Primary School, Jackie Cox, St Aloysius' Catholic Infant School, Lorraine Dolan, Holy Trinity & St Silas Primary School, Rob Earrey, Fitzjohn's Primary School,Helen Bruckdorfer, Torriano Primary School, Anne Fontaine, Hawley Infants School, Mary Thorne, St Alban's C.E. Primary School Camden , Mark Stubbings, Brookfield Primary School, Marianne Porter, Brecknock Primary School, Gwen Lee, Christopher Hatton Primary School,Kathy Bannon,  Richard Cobden School, Robin Warren, Primrose Hill Primary School, John Hayes, Gospel Oak Primary School, Vicki Briody, Abacus Belsize Primary School, Don McGibbon, Fleet Primary School, Dani Sive, Frank Barnes School for Deaf children, Tim Wilson , Sir John Cass's Foundation Primary School, James Thompson, Royal Russell Junior School, Virginia Marshall, St. Giles School, Stephen Peace, East Acton Primary School, Roisin Walsh, Dormers Wells High School, Sarah Raffray, St Augustine's Priory, Ann Ellen, Vicar's Green Primary School, Rachel Martin,  West Twyford Primary School, Neil Hassell, Oasis Academy Enfield, Carolyn Roberts, Thomas Tallis School, Siobhan Horisk, Hackney New Primary School, Karen Pedro, Gayhurst Community School, Caroline Tyson, London Fields Primary School, Norma Hewins, Jubilee Primary School, Karen Law, William Patten Primary School, Wayne Leeming, Melcombe Primary School, Helen Lowe, Bute House Preparatory School, Carol Gray, All Saints CE Primary School, William Dean, Highgate Primary School, Adrian Hall, Rhodes Avenue Primary School, Anna Smakowska, Woodlands School, Louise Ann Browning, Norbury School Harrow, Kath Keeper , Scargill Infant School, Bill Edgar, Gaynes School,Julia Moss, Harefield Infant School, Bernadette Lloyd, Harefield Infant, Nursery and Children Centre and Harefield Junior School, Colette Acres, Our Lady and St John's , Nathalie Parker, Hugh Myddelton Primary School, Harsha Patel, Copenhagen Primary School , Norah Flatley, Blessed Sacrament Primary School, Jenny Lewis, Thornhill Primary School, Dominic Smith, Ark Brunel Primary Academy, Rachel Eckford, Henry Fawcett Primary School, Sam Palin, Woodmansterne School, Jim Henderson, City Heights E-ACT Academy, Elizabeth Booth, Dalmain Primary School, Thomas Mylne, Streatham & Clapham Prep School, Jane Lunnon, Wimbledon High School, Linda-May Bingham, Britannia Village Primary School, Liz Bachour, St Stephen’s Primary School, Brenda Green, St Edmund's Catholic Primary School, Sarah Brodie, Windham Nursery School, Reema Reid, Hollydale Primary School, Ann Higgs, St George's Cathedral Catholic Primary School, Clare Garofalo, St Joseph's Catholic Primary, Simon Eccles, Spa School, Toby Giles Anderson Griffiths, Dulwich College Junior School , Sarah Manley, Snowsfields Primary School, Rebecca Abrahams , St Luke's C. E. Primary School, Terry Bennett, St Paul's Whitechapel & St John's, Bethnal Green, Gillian Kemp, Cyril Jackson Primary School, Robyn Bruce, Cubitt Town Junior School, Linda Ewers, Olga Primary School, Jackie Trudgeon, Canon Barnett Primary School, Gail O'Flaherty, St Edmund's Catholic Primary School, Sharon Taylor-Sezgin, St John's Bethnal Green, Mandy Boutwood, Harbinger Primary School, Fanoula Smith,  St Saviour's C.E. Primary School, Jill Baker, George Green's Secondary School, Wendy Otterburn-Hall, Halley Primary School, Marie Maxwell, Globe Primary School, Helen James, Chisenhale Primary School, Kate Gooding, Virginia Primary School, Angelina John, St Elizabeth Primary School, Lorraine Flanagan, Thomas Buxton Primary School, Kathryn Soulard, Greenleaf Primary School, Jayne Cominetti, Stoneydown Park Primary School, Paulette Houghton, Thorpe Hall Primary School, Verity Carter, George Tomlinson Primary School, Sophie Rutherford, John Burns Primary School, Nicola Cottier, St Peter's Eaton Square C of E Primary School, Liz Hillyard, Tachbrook Nursery School, Joffy Conolly, Soho Parish Primary School and Darren Rubin, St Paul's Whitechapel CE Primary School

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