A committee of MPs is suggesting planning rules are updated to require new schools, hospitals and care homes to be built away from busy roads, to avoid diseases and deaths caused by air pollution becoming the next big public health crisis.
Quoting data that suggests "tens of thousands" of deaths are triggered by nitrogen dioxide and airborne particulate pollution each year, the environmental audit committee also wants existing schools near busy roads to be told to install air filtration systems to reduce exposure to the black stuff pumped out by the traffic.
Joan Walley MP, who chaired the committee, said: "Well over a thousand schools around the country are 150 metres away from major roads. Protecting children and vulnerable people in the worst affected areas must be made a priority by Government and Local Authorities. Ministers must pluck up the political courage to take the potentially unpopular decisions necessary to get the most polluting vehicles off the road and encourage more people to walk, cycle or take public transport."
The MPs also suggest compensating diesel drivers as a way of encouraging them to switch to less polluting petrol engines, presumably by some sort of new scrappage scheme. [Parliament UK]