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Ocado’s plans for delivery depot near Archway school spark anger

A generic stock photo of an Ocado home delivery van in south west London. Picture: Kate Collins/ PA

A generic stock photo of an Ocado home delivery van in south west London. Picture: Kate Collins/ PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Parents could boycott online supermarket Ocado over its plans to create a delivery hub serving high-polluting diesel vehicles near a school in Archway.

Students at Yerbury Primary School standing together in protest against education funding cuts.Students at Yerbury Primary School standing together in protest against education funding cuts.

The company has submitted an application for a delivery warehouse with diesel fuel pumps in the Bush Industrial Estate, Station Road.

The plans would see lorries driving down the boundary wall to Yerbury Primary School playground, three metres from the classrooms.

Clean air campaigners fear the extra traffic will also pollute air at nearby Leaping Lizard Nursery, in Whittington Park, and at Foxham Gardens and Tufnell Park Playing Fields.

A King's College London report estimates 36,000 people in the UK die as a result of poor air quality annually.

Green Party campaigner Natasha Cox said: "I'm very angry. My children are at Yerbury, including my daughter who spent four days in A&E in the Whittington recently because she has asthma. "It just feels like someone's trying to pull a fast one. I think they may have underestimated the local population. It's three metres from a primary school, right next to a nursery and playing fields. It's just not the place for this diesel heavy, goods heavy, distribution centre."

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She said the proposal, if passed, would "make a mockery" of the council's school streets scheme, for which Yerbury was a pilot, and its climate emergency pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Natasha added: "There has been a discussion at the school gates about people feeling they need to make it an embarrassment to have an Ocado van outside your front door if they go through with this."

Yerbury headteacher Cassie Moss said: "I am extremely concerned. If successful, the proposals totally undermine all the hard work we have done over the years to help children develop into mentally and physically healthy adults.

"We urge Ocado to carefully reconsider the location of their proposed distribution hub for the health of our children."

The application to Islington Council states deliveries and refuelling will take place between the hours of 10am and 4pm.

Vehicles release harmful air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter like PM2.5 and PM10, which can enter the blood stream, damage organs and stunt children's growth.

Yerbury has a nitrogen dioxide reading of 37.1 micrograms per cubic metre - making it one of the few Islington schools with a level below the EU legal limit.

In 2015, 39 of Islington's 58 primary and secondary schools were also found to breach these limits, and seven were in the top 100 most polluted learning environments in London.

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