Stoke Newington mum-to-be struck down by pneumonia calls on Tory government to tackle toxic air

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 10:21 14 January 2020

Victoria Lane walking down Stoke Newington Church Street with her two children. Picture: Air Team UK

Victoria Lane walking down Stoke Newington Church Street with her two children. Picture: Air Team UK

Air Team UK

A Stoke Newington mother has helped launch a national petition calling for clean air, after she collapsed with respiratory failure on the day pollution reached its highest levels last year.

Victoria Lane with her two children in Church Street. Picture: Air Team UKVictoria Lane with her two children in Church Street. Picture: Air Team UK

Victoria Lane, 38, believes a toxic cocktail of nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter were to blame for the pneumonia she contracted when she was six months pregnant.

Along with Air Team UK she is calling on the government to bring forward targets to protect children forced to breathe in toxic air simply because of where they live.

"No child should go through what I experienced," said Victoria, of Stoke Newington Church Street, who was struck down during last Easter's heat wave and ended up in intensive care. "It was scary having pneumonia. I ended up being in isolation because doctors didn't know what was happening. I couldn't sit up in bed or do anything on my own. I was in and out of consciousness and I was worried about the baby."

Victoria's lung capacity is compromised, and it is likely she has late-onset asthma. While her consultant could not say for sure what brought on the health crisis, he believes it is probably no coincidence that the symptoms and a persistent cough coincided with her 2017 move to Stoke Newington Church Street, where pollution levels were high.

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"I'd been getting increasingly breathless leading up to the illness, and put it down to pregnancy, but he said it looked as though something had been going on for a while which triggered asthma and my lung capacity gradually decreasing," said Victoria.

"There are so many factors at play, and it's hard to prove, because studies on toxic air are only just coming out, but my doctor is young and aware of the studies.

"He's seeing whether it is to do with hormones until I'm a year post-partum, but my son is five-months old and I have had tests to show I am still asthmatic even though the pregnancy hormones are leaving my body."

Victoria's two children attend William Patten, where parents have long campaigned about air pollution.

The Gazette has contacted the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for comment.

See the petition at

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