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Air Quality: School Sites

Volume 651: debated on Monday 17 December 2018

Local authorities are responsible for air quality and must ensure that it meets the standards set in local air quality action plans. If there was concern about the air quality in a school building, it would fall to the body responsible for the school to check that and establish what measures needed to be taken to improve air quality.

Will the Minister and the Government take air pollution in our country and the effect that it has on children’s brains far more seriously? A target of doing something about air pollution in our country by 2040 is not good enough. The research evidence shows that children’s brains are being affected now and more so in homes where incomes are lower and in ethnic minority homes.

The Government take the safety of pupils extremely seriously. We recently published technical guidance on air quality in schools. This takes into account the latest developments in air quality management and monitoring to support the design of new schools, and it promotes best practice and covers air quality as a matter of controlling both external and internal pollutants and setting maximum standards for levels of pollutants in classrooms.

The Minister will know that a controversial housing development on the A27, one of the busiest roads in the south-east, includes plans for a new school. Local air pollution monitoring equipment does not even work. Does he not think that it is crazy to put a new school right next to such a busy road and should that not be a planning consideration when locating schools in future?

My hon. Friend raises an important point; we take air quality very seriously. It is a matter for West Sussex County Council to ensure that every school that is built in that county has high-quality air for the pupils in those schools.