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‘Private school bus is polluting Highbury kids by idling for half-an-hour’

PUBLISHED: 16:14 27 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:58 27 September 2017

The Swallow coach parked by the bus stop in Highbury Barn. Picture: Fiona Stuart

The Swallow coach parked by the bus stop in Highbury Barn. Picture: Fiona Stuart

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A row has erupted over a private school bus that sits “idling” in Highbury Barn every day while other children breathe in its diesel fumes.

Dentist Fiona Stuart gets angry every time she passes the St Joan of Arc bus stop and sees kids sat waiting for a TfL bus while the Swallow Coach is parked nearby.

It is there to pick children up and take them to the Forest School in Snaresbrook, a £15,000-a-year private school.

“You can’t just idle at a bus stop, it’s not ok,” she told the Gazette.

“It says on the website it leaves at 7.30am but it just sits there with its engine on with diesel fumes coming out of it. There’s kids sitting there waiting for ordinary buses breathing it in.

“It is hired by and advertised by Forest School for their fee paying students. Children from local state schools are left choking on the fumes while mothers in 4x4s park at the bus stop to leave their kids while it belches out pollution.

“There’s about five or six different sites across Islington where it picks people up.

“I wrote to the school who informed bus company and for a week or two they moved to another area. It has continued and now – new school year, more pollution.”

Forest School, which sends out coaches to pick up pupils from across north and north-east London, said the issue was nothing to do with them and said it was Swallow, an independent company, which was responsible.

Ken Webb, manager of Swallow, which is based in Rainham, north-east London, told the Gazette: “It’s bizarre – what, have you got no murders to write about so you’re worrying about coaches? I don’t know.

“They don’t sit there for half-an-hour. They might turn up 10 minutes early when they leave from our base in Rainham. They can’t turn the engine off because some jobsworth comes and tells you to move.

“We pick up from bus stops, are they not moaning about fumes from the TfL buses?

“It’s because private school kids are getting picked up by coach and their kids aren’t. It’s just sour grapes.”

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