1. ITV Report

Call for ban on building schools and hospitals near 'pollution hotspots'

MPs have called for a ban on building schools, hospitals and care homes next to air pollution hotspots Credit: PA

Air pollution is so dangerous the Government should make it impossible to build schools, hospitals and care homes next to busy roads, MPs have said.

The Environmental Audit Committee describes air pollution as an "invisible killer" that takes the lives of 29,000 people per year.

Its Action on Air Quality report says that more than 1,000 existing schools should be fitted with air filtration systems to protect children from traffic fumes, warning that youngsters face lung damage.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a by-product of motor engines that has been linked to impaired lung development, asthma and infant death.

Schools, hospitals and care homes should not be built near busy roads, a report has said Credit: PA

The committee said that more than a thousand schools are 150 metres away from major roads.

It warned that recent figures suggest air pollution from heavy traffic could be "killing almost the same amount of people as smoking."

It is unacceptable that another generation of young people growing up in our towns and cities could have their health seriously impaired by illegal air pollution before the Government brings this public health crisis under control.

...Protecting children and vulnerable people in the worst-affected areas must be made a priority by Government and local authorities.

– Joan Walley, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee

A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokesman said: "Clean air is vital for people's health, and while air quality has improved significantly in recent decades, we are investing heavily in measures across government to continue this, committing £2 billion since 2011 in green transport initiatives."