A face mask is placed on the statue of Nelson’s Column by Greenpeace protesters in London. Londoners living in the city’s most deprived areas were on average more exposed to poor air quality than those in more affluent areas [Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images].

A face mask is placed on the statue of Nelson’s Column by Greenpeace protesters in London. Londoners living in the city’s most deprived areas were on average more exposed to poor air quality than those in more affluent areas [Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images].

The most striking aspect of this article on London schools in areas that exceed EU limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution is the absence of any comment from the former London Mayor, Boris Johnson.

This report is three years old – why was it not released at the time? And why did Mr Johnson not act upon it?

Is it really because he didn’t want people in deprived areas to realise how badly he was treating them?

Whatever the case, Boris Johnson is now facing serious credibility problems, having taken a huge amount of flak for mentioning Hitler as part of his campaigning for the UK to vote to leave the European Union next month.

It is still possible that he could come back from this and mount a successful bid for the Conservative Party leadership when David Cameron steps down (the only people voting will be Tories), but his ability to win a general election may be hopelessly impaired.

The memory of the general voting public is lengthening – due to the amount of offence caused by current Conservative policies.

Londoners won’t forget the harm Mr Johnson has allowed to be done to their children.

An air quality report that was not published by Boris Johnson while he was mayor of London demonstrates that 433 schools in the capital are located in areas that exceed EU limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution – and that four-fifths of those are in deprived areas.

The report, Analysing Air Pollution Exposure in London, said that in 2010, 433 of the city’s 1,777 primary schools were in areas where pollution breached the EU limits for NO2. Of those, 83% were considered deprived schools, with more than 40% of pupils on free school meals.

A spokeswoman for Johnson’s successor, Sadiq Khan, said the new mayor could not understand why the research had not been published when it was completed more than two-and-a-half years ago.

Khan’s spokeswoman said: “This shocking report reveals a snapshot of the true ‎impact that our polluted air has on some of London’s most vulnerable communities. It is difficult to understand why the last mayoralty decided to cover it up and not fully release it in 2013 – they clearly didn’t want Londoners to know the dire state of pollution in the capital.

“The mayor is fully committed to cleaning up our air and protecting Londoners’ health and is shocked to learn that important scientific evidence like this have been locked and ignored at City Hall.”

The mayor now plans to officially publish the report.

Source: Boris Johnson accused of burying study linking pollution and deprived schools | Environment | The Guardian

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