West Midlands UKIP MEP James Carver has slammed a Labour MP for suggesting the way to tackle air pollution around schools is to deprive vulnerable children of their education.
Mary Creagh MP, chairman of the parliamentary environmental committee, wants the government to send out alerts when levels are high so that parents of youngsters with asthma can chose not to send them to school.
But Mr Carver said: “Air pollution everywhere, including around schools, needs tackling, but not by depriving children of their education.
“Schools have a constant battle to keep attendance high as the result of low attendance is poor educational outcomes for our children and young people.
“Ms Creagh is sending out the wrong message which is deeply worrying – air pollution may well exacerbate health problems like asthma, but to penalise children by not sending them to school is not the answer.
“We should be tackling air pollution at its source by reducing vehicle emissions further, dealing with congestion and developing new technologies.”
The MP was speaking on BBC Five Live when she called on ministers to agree to issue alerts.
She said: “One of the things that government could do is to send out alerts when the air pollution is high so that parents can make the choice if they have a child with asthma that they won’t send him to school that day and keep him indoors or that the teachers keep them indoors.”