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Stoke Newington parents confront councillors over CS1 William Patten school air pollution row

PUBLISHED: 12:30 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:47 26 February 2018

Children and parents from William Patten Primary School campaigning against local road closure proposals.

Children and parents from William Patten Primary School campaigning against local road closure proposals.

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A row between parents and the council about whether road closures will increase air pollution at a Stoke Newington primary school came to a head last night.

Children and parents from William Patten Primary School campaigning against local road closure proposals. Picture: Polly HancockChildren and parents from William Patten Primary School campaigning against local road closure proposals. Picture: Polly Hancock

The town hall wants to shut roads in the area to through traffic to improve air quality and make the Cycle Superhighway 1 (CS1) route quieter and safer.

But parents say it will simply shift traffic onto Church Street, outside their children’s school William Patten.

At the full council meeting last night, Lucy Harbor, who has two children at the school, handed in a five-page petition against the plans, which also called for an agreement not to bring in any road closures that increase air pollution at schools and nurseries.

The council insists the move would only see an increase in traffic outside the school of between 5 and 7 per cent, a figure disputed by the campaigners.

Children and parents from William Patten Primary School campaigning against local road closure proposals. Picture: Polly HancockChildren and parents from William Patten Primary School campaigning against local road closure proposals. Picture: Polly Hancock

Cllr Demirci explained a list that found William Patten was one of the most polluted schools in London had used “very rough data” and that a more detailed audit using “hi-tech monitoring equipment” would be ready in the summer.

“No London borough is doing more to clean up the air than Hackney,” she said. “The parents have asked for very detailed air quality modelling and once that’s ready in the summer we will sit down with parents and talk them through the data before any decision is made on the future of the scheme.”

But Ms Harbor wasn’t having it. She hit back: “I’m totally disgusted you are trying to downplay the pollution levels of the school. I think it’s absolutely shameful. And if you continue with these plans we are going to take it even further.”

The meeting then went well and truly off script as Ms Harbor called for councillors to vote on the agreement posed in the parents’ petition, something that didn’t happen.

She also said the council had dodged one month’s worth of enquiries asking for an admission its traffic data that produced the “5 to 7pc” figure was wrong. Cllr Demirci said she didn’t agree the data was wrong.

Cllr Sem Moema pointed out the rest of the chamber was “watching an argument” and after two strikes of speaker Soraya Adejare’s gavel the meeting moved on.

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