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Air pollution: how worried are parents?

London

We surveyed over 900 Mumsnetters to find out what they think about air pollution – how worried they are about it and how it impacts their families.

We found that many respondents do worry about the impact of air pollution on their children’s health – over half (54%) said that they are ‘quite’ or ‘extremely worried’. This jumps to 66% of parents who live in urban areas and 80% of parents who live in London or Greater London. Just over a quarter (26%) of parents in London/Greater London said they were ‘extremely’ worried.

Some parents are so concerned about the impact of air pollution on their children’s health that they have considered moving home because of it – almost 4 in 10 (39%) parents living in London/Greater London; 28% of respondents living in urban areas, and 17% of all respondents said they had considered moving.

6% of the total sample said their child had missed between one and three days of school over the last year because of breathing difficulties or illnesses that were made significantly worse by air pollution. 4% said their child missed between four and nine days of school and 1% said that their child had missed more than 10 days of school for the same reason.

Of those in London/Greater London:

  • 8% said their child had missed between one and three days of school in the past year because of breathing difficulties or illnesses that were made significantly worse by air pollution
  • 2% said their child had missed between four and nine days of school in the past year because of breathing difficulties or illnesses that were made significantly worse by air pollution
  • 2% who said their child had missed 10 or more school days in the past year because of breathing difficulties or illnesses that were made significantly worse by air pollution.

Of those in an urban area:

  • 7% said their child had missed between one and three days of school in the past year because of breathing difficulties or illnesses that were made significantly worse by air pollution
  • 2% said their child had missed between four and nine days of school in the past year because of breathing difficulties or illnesses that were made significantly worse by air pollution
  • 1% who said their child had missed 10 or more school days in the past year because of breathing difficulties or illnesses that were made significantly worse by air pollution.

5% of parents said they have had to take time off work in the past year when their child has missed school or nursery with an air pollution related illness. Twice as many parents (10%) in London/Greater London said they had to take time off work for this reason, and 7% of parents living in an urban area did.

Justine Roberts, Mumsnet Founder and CEO, said: “The level of concern among parents in London about air pollution, and particularly its effect on their children's health, is striking. We know from conversations on Mumsnet that worries about pollution can drive decisions about nurseries, primary schools and even house moves; if a child or other family member has respiratory problems, the health effects of air pollution can be dramatic and frightening."

Read the full results of the survey here.