Stoke Newington parents fear scheme to cut air pollution around CS1 will pollute school playground instead

Parents of William Patten School had their say on the consultation on Monday night. Picture: Mete Co

Parents of William Patten School had their say on the consultation on Monday night. Picture: Mete Coban - Credit: Archant

Parents in Stoke Newington say road closures in the area designed to get people walking and cycling will increase pollution at their kids’ school – by diverting cars past it.

Campaign group StokeyParents grilled councillors about the plans on Monday night.

The town hall brought in road closures around Wordsworth Road to make the Cycle Superhighway 1 (CS1) route safer in October 2016. But chiefs say that resulted in “aggressive driving” elsewhere, and intend to solve the problem by closing Walford Road, Brighton Road and Nevill Road too – daily diverting about 560 cars past William Patten School in Church Street.

Now parents say a consultation about the changes wasn’t publicised widely enough. The council has accepted it should have delivered leaflets to both sides of Church Street and has vowed to send out more.

But otherwise council chiefs stand by the plans, which they say will significantly improve Hackney’s air quality. They also say the air around William Patten won’t be made worse because the 5 to 7 per cent increase in traffic will be offset by the movement of a bus stop and the switch to hybrid buses on the 476 route. TfL is also backing the plans.

Parent and campaigner Jenna Fansa said: “For the council to claim an extra 564 extra cars passing the gates [a day] wouldn’t cause worse pollution for our children is laughable and alarming. We believe the council should be actively trying to reduce traffic and pollution outside playgrounds and to be doing something that, by their own admission, will actively increase traffic is scandalous.”

She called the failure to consult more widely “either an appalling oversight or a deliberate attempt to get the proposals through with minimal objections”.

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Transport chief Cllr Feryal Demirci said the point of the scheme was to “reclaim roads from motor traffic congestion”, not divert drivers.

“We want to do everything we can to reduce children’s exposure to toxic air,” she said. “We have installed a detailed continuous monitoring station by William Patten school and will publish the results of an audit with recommended actions to reduce pupils’ exposure to air pollution.

“We have to enable more walking and cycling and reduce local emissions – removing through traffic from residential streets is a tried and tested way of doing that.”