Calls for more funding for Sheffield school ranked worst for air quality
Lowfield Primary School has been named as having the worst air quality in the city, from the latest readings from the National campaign AddressPollution.org.
The primary school, located on London Road, has been ranked in the 90th percentile for its levels of air pollution.
This makes it the most air-polluted school in Sheffield and one of the most air-polluted in the UK.
Graham Turnbull, the founder of Clean Air for Sheffield, said: “I think that the local council is responsible for air quality, but of course, they have limited powers and funds.
“I believe that Sheffield Council should make a case to the central government to get the funding to ‘Re-wild’ the area around the school.”
The location exceeds the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) PM2.5, PM10 and N02 limits for pollution, which AddressPollution.org says can cause asthma and jeopardise lung functions.
According to a 2020 study, 19.9% of strokes were blamed on a year or more of exposure to pollution concentrations which exceeded 10 micrograms per cubic metre.
AddressPollution.org’s reading for pollutant N02 at Lowfield Primary School’s location is 35.57 micrograms per cubic metre, while the limit is just 10.
On Facebook, a former student who attended Lowfield Primary nearly 60 years ago said she developed asthma in her fifties. One social media user joked it might have had something to do with the old Morris Minors and Vauxhall Wyverns driving past during her time at school.
Mr Turnbell said: “Yes, people will complain about the traffic, but every one of those car journeys is a choice. People need to demand better public transportation and active travel options.”
While many local parents and former students took to Facebook to express their thoughts on the issue, some felt there might be an ulterior motive to the news.
One commenter said: “[Sheffield City Council] has identified a number of schools which are in prime flat building locations and want to claim the pollution levels there (which have never been an issue before), are now suddenly a massive issue because some ‘air quality expert’ says so.
“Thus providing a reason to move the school and renovate the site into flats.”