A study of more than 2,000 London schoolchildren published in The Lancet found that the growth of children's lungs is being stunted due to pollution from diesel emissions, leaving them damaged for life.
Speaking to The Guardian, Sarah Macfadyen, head of policy and public affairs at British Lung Foundation, said: "It found that children lost about 5 per cent of their lung capacity.
“That’s something they won’t get back. Something that throughout their lives will put them at risk of infections and breathing problems, all because of the air that they were breathing to and from school, to the park, just generally being out and about with their families.”
Cleaner air for kids
The BLF has teamed up with the environmental law group, Client Earth, to establish the Clean Air Parents’ Network, a campaign group calling on politicians to improve air quality in towns and cities.
Data collated through discussions in forums, parent surveys and anecdotal evidence shared by health charities, suggests that parents are so concerned about air quality in the capital that they consider it a main factor when it comes to choosing a school for their children.
Swapping city for suburb
And many are leaving the city for the suburbs in an attempt to have less-polluted air.
Andrea Lee, senior campaigner at ClientEarth told The Guardian: "It is incredible that in 21st-century Britain parents have to think about moving their families to escape illegally polluted air which is harming their children.
"This is what happens when you have a government unwilling to commit the resources and political will to clean up what has become a public health crisis.”