Almost 50 schools and nurseries in Lambeth lie within 150 metres of London’s busiest roads, statistics uncovered by the Green Party have shown.

In response this week, Green Party London Assembly candidate for Lambeth and Southwark Jonathan Bartley, launched a petition demanding the Mayor and local authorities do more to combat air pollution in the capital.

49 schools and nurseries in Lambeth are within 150 metres of roads carrying over 10,000 vehicles a day.

Studies have shown that air pollution causes more than 4,200 premature deaths in London every year and can lead to respiratory illnesses such as allergies, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.

Bartley said: “This is a silent emergency that needs to be acted upon now. Lambeth has some of the worst air quality in the whole of Europe, resulting in widespread health problems and premature deaths.

“It is a form of abuse to routinely expose our children, day after day, to conditions which take such a terrible toll on their health. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye any longer. We need urgent action now.”

The petition calls for Boris Johnson “to reduce urgently air pollution on main roads near schools to protect the health of children” and is being launched by Green Party candidates across London.

It will be presented to City Hall in the new year.

Green Party Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones said: “We hope that this petition helps tell City Hall how serious the problem or air pollution is—and how urgently action must be taken.

Simple measures could make such a huge difference in improving air quality and road safety, but there remains a lack of will to take this issue seriously.

“By cleaning up the bus fleet by 2016, taking the most polluting vans and taxis off the roads and reducing traffic across London, those who live in and visit London could enjoy healthier, cleaner, safer lives.”

The petition can be found at