Ellen Wilkinson Primary School, Star Primary School, Lister Community School and Rokeby School in east London were closed on Wednesday so buildings could be fumigated.
But experts from the charity Buglife and the educational group UK Wildlife have condemned the move as an over-reaction and warned that children may be at greater risk from the pesticides used to get rid of the spiders.
Buglife CEO Matt Shardlow said the closures were a ‘radical and unnecessary over-reaction to the tiny risk posed’
“These sit-and-wait predators merely inhabit webs in discrete corners eating flies and other insects. On the other hand there are many severe negative health impacts recorded from exposure to pesticides.”
A Newham Council spokeswoman said it would take around three weeks to eradicate the spiders.
However Neil Phillips who founded UK Wildlife said it was ‘possibly the worst over-reaction’ to spiders he had ever seen.
“Whoever told them the spiders needed removing is just wrong. Who is the council getting this advice from? Hope it’s not the pest control company who will be making a lot of money at the expense of children’s education.”
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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