academy plans could harm kids lungs too

Press Release

Air Pollution Near Planned Ark Academy Site Exceeds Legal Limits
Re: Objection to the proposal to build a new school (the Ark Academy ) on the former site of Barnet Football Ground, Barnet Lane EN5 2DN. 
Planning Application Number 16/5948/FUL

 A few weeks ago Barnet Green Party put up diffusion tubes to measure the current air pollution around the site of the proposed Ark Academy . We used the diffusion tubes supplied by Gradko International, recommended by DEFRA, which measure nitrogen dioxide.
We have discovered that nitrogen dioxide levels near the proposed school already breach legal EU levels (which are still in operation  until Britain leaves the EU). These levels are also in the World Health Organisation (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines.
In some of the areas tested, the legal limit of nitrogen dioxide was exceeded.It’s dangerous for children when levels reach 30 µg/m3. The legal limit is 40µg/m3 (microgrammes per cubic metre).
High readings near schools are particularly worrying as it has been shown that nitrogen dioxide pollution can reduce lung growth in children by 10% and this can never be recuperated. As nitrogen dioxide turns into nitric acid in the lungs it poses a serious health risk for all of us.
Here is a list of the readings above 30 µg/m3 recorded near the site of the proposed Ark Academy .
1) Mays Lane / Barnet Lane                                 38.51 µg/m3
Lamppost on north side
2) Mays Lane/Barnet Lane                           33.23  µg/m3
South side
3) Underhill South side                                 43.96 µg/m3
Footpath to Westcombe Drive
4) A1000 50 m south of                                  51.02  µg/m3
Railway bridge
5) Barnet Lane south of                                 32.00  µg/m3
Westcombe Drive green wide gates
6) Barnet Hill/Underhill Lamppost no 1        42.31  µg/m3
According to the application documents, traffic in the Mays Lane/Barnet Lane area is expected to increase by up to 30% by 2014and that that the school will have an intake of around 2,000 pupils from a catchment area of a radius of 5 miles. Furthermore, the Ark Academy is expected to have a staff of around 150.
One can therefore expect air pollution levels to be considerably higher than at present.
According to a report published by the Royal College of Physicians in February this year, 40,000 deaths per annum in the UK are attributable to exposure to outdoor air pollution. The report states that “air pollution has also been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, obesity and changes linked to dementia.”** A 2015 Kings College London report found that in London alone there are 9,500 deaths per year; that’s 26 a day.
In some UK cities, planning permission for developments has been turned down if the increase in traffic would raise the level of nitrogen dioxide above 40µg/m3, for example in Sheffield where an application to extend a Sainsbury supermarket was rejected because of concerns over increased air pollution.***
.Earlier in 2016, Barnet Green Party monitored nitrogen dioxide levels near a number of other schools in Barnet LBC.
Here’s a breakdown of our results:
(All figures are in µg/m3)
All Saints Nursery School, Oakleigh Road North                           37.23
Belfield Montessori Day Nursery, Greenhill Park, Barnet,                        26.75
Dwight School, 6 Friern Barnet Lane , Barnet                                49.60
Foulds School, Byng Road , High Barnet                                        21.45
Menorah Primary School, The Drive, Golders Green                   28.14
Sacred Heart School , Oakleigh Park South                                              45.75
Underhill School, Mays Lane , Barnet                                                          33.47
Wessex Gardens School, Wessex Gardens                                             38.57
Wessex Gardens School, Hendon Way                                          66.03
The tests were run using diffusion tubes from Gradko International Laboratory, where the results were also analysed. These are the same tubes and laboratory used by Camden Council. Residents and groups interested in monitoring air pollution can contact or telephone 01962 860331 to get their own test kits.
Barnet Green Party is keen to work with residents and local groups across the Borough to build up a more comprehensive picture of air quality and pollution hotspots and to campaign for nitrogen dioxide to be kept within legal limits.
* The quote is from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) UK overview document, Improving Air Quality in the UK : Tackling nitrogen dioxide in our towns and cities, December 2015.
** Royal College of Physicians report: Every breath we take: the lifelong impact of air pollution.
*** For more information on the rejected Sainsbury development see:
For further information contact:
Adele Ward
Barnet Green Party Press Officer