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Neighbours block off London Fields street, protesting rat run traffic and 'dangerous levels' of air pollution

PUBLISHED: 18:15 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:15 20 September 2019

Protesters in Sheep Lane, London Fields, who say the road is a rat run with too much air pollution. Picture: Sarah Burgess

Protesters in Sheep Lane, London Fields, who say the road is a rat run with too much air pollution. Picture: Sarah Burgess

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Protesters blocked off Sheep Lane from Westgate Street to the Bush Road junction this afternoon over "dangerous levels" of air pollution outside London Fields Primary School.

Protesters in Sheep Lane, London Fields, who say the road is a rat run with too much air pollution. Picture: Sarah BurgessProtesters in Sheep Lane, London Fields, who say the road is a rat run with too much air pollution. Picture: Sarah Burgess

From 3pm, members of the local Beck Road Residents' Association erected makeshift barriers to stop the tide of through-traffic, claiming their children's health is at risk.

Chair Kathryn Lovering said: "We want to permanently restrict access to cars and private vehicles, and only have buses and cyclists coming through this road.

"We have over 500 cars coming through our street every day, and a large amount of them drive over 30mph. It's dangerous.

"What we really want to stop is all the delivery vans and trucks, who think they can just nip in through Sheep Lane rather than go along Hackney Road, because it's the children who suffer.

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"Although we've been in contact with Hackney Council for nine months, they aren't really taking any definitive action. This is a reminder to them.

"We haven't approached London Fields Primary School or the nearby Ann Taylor Nursery, but I don't think they want to get political."

Heather and Rachel, residents with children at the school and nursery, said they support the demonstrations organised by Kathryn.

Heather, who lives in Beck Road, said: "There are a lot of families who live and play here. It's important that we do something about the pollution." Rachel added that "most parents take their kids to school on foot anyway".

But not all neighbours approved of the demonstration. One woman who lives nearby said it would take her an extra 15 to 25 minutes to get home in rush hour if cars were denied access.

She said: "There are parents of the school who live nearby and don't agree with what they're doing. My next-door neighbour is a cab driver and his kids go to the school. This will mess them up.

"Lots of residents were like 'what's going on?' when they put the barriers up. One guy was saying that he needed to get through to take his daughter to the doctor's but they wouldn't let him."

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