New London Dock school to be most heavily polluted in Tower Hamlets

Irrespective of the exact nature of the new secondary school at London Dock some basic research using publicly available data indicates that its pupils will suffer from the site being the most heavily polluted school in Tower Hamlets if not the whole of London.

Site of new London Dock school

A previous LW story ‘Eleven Tower Hamlets secondary schools exceed legal air quality levels‘ showed the levels of pollution for existing schools in the borough were atrocious.

We decided to do get the Wapping Mole to do a bit of digging and see what the air quality would be like for the new London Dock school?

Very bad indeed seems to be the answer.

The two simple row charts below tell the story.

London Dock school, sited right next to The Highway, will be subject to the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide, far exceeding the current highest levels at Bow School.

Bow School  will still have more passing traffic than the London Dock school because it is sited next to the Blackwall Tunnel Northern Approach.

And it is the passing traffic which is a key generator of air pollution.


The main effect of breathing in raised levels of nitrogen dioxide is the increased likelihood of respiratory problems. Nitrogen dioxide inflames the lining of the lungs, and it can reduce immunity to lung infections. This can cause problems such as wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis.

Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide can have significant impacts on people with asthma because it can cause more frequent and more intense attacks. Children with asthma and older people with heart disease are most at risk.

And of course as children are not tall they are closer to the main source of the pollution, the road vehicles.

Traffic on The Highway passing the site of the new London Dock school (behind hoardings right).

Who chooses to build a school next to The Highway?

The decision to build a new school next to The Highway was not taken by Tower Hamlets Council but by an independent government inspector.

More on the assessment of pollution levels undertaken as part of this decision by the independent inspector at a later date. That is of course assuming that an assessment was undertaken.

For More Information

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