CAMPAIGNERS say the health of hundreds of children across Lewisham and Greenwich could be at risk because their schools are close to heavily polluted roads.

Figures obtained by Clean Air in London (CAL) found 67 schools across both boroughs are within 150m of roads carrying 10,000 or more vehicles each day.

It released the information following new research by Aphekom - a group of European scientists who claim children exposed to higher levels of traffic-related air pollution may be at an increased risk of developing asthma.

London assembly Green Party member, Darren Johnson, said: “I’m hugely worried about the impacts on people’s health.

“We need to sort out the problem of traffic pollution in London and that needs action from the government, Mayor of London and local councils.

“We have also got to get information out to parents that as far as possible they have to try and avoid the busiest roads as they walk to school.”

Founder and director of CAL, Simon Birkett, says more must be done to “tackle an invisible public health crisis”.

He said: “We need one or more additional inner low emission zones that ban the oldest diesel vehicles from our most polluted roads and a massive campaign to build public understanding of the dangers of air pollution.”

Millennium Primary School, in John Harrison Way, Greenwich, was on the list.

Headteacher Jon Goulding said: “I am aware Millennium is one of the school 's that is close to a main road being so close to the Blackwell Tunnel.

“When this school was created it was designed with an air filtration system which ensures only clean air circulates around the building. Therefore this reduces the issues for some of our children who have asthma.”

Advice from Dr Donal O’Sullivan

Consultant in public health for NHS south east London and public health Lewisham, Dr Donal O’Sullivan, said: “Air pollution can be a stimulus that can trigger asthma symptoms.

“Air pollution is thought to be one of the major reasons for the high prevalence of asthma in urban areas.

“When pollution is high a number of steps can be taken to reduce and prevent symptoms of asthma:

- stay indoors with windows shut when possible

- if you do go outside reduce the time you spend outdoors

- walking on quieter, less used roads and side streets can reduce exposure to vehicle emission pollutants

- avoid heavy and prolonged exercise in open air environments.

“If you or your child has worsening symptoms (cough, breathlessness, wheezing or tight chest) and their medication is not helping, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. Visit your GP or asthma nurse, or call NHS Direct on 0845 4647.”