Council supports schools to improve air quality

I SWITCH MY ENGINE OFF

This Clean Air Day we’re supporting Hartshead and Golcar Junior and Infant Schools to encourage parents and guardians to turn engines off when they are waiting to pick children up from school.

What’s happening?

On the 16th of June, Hartshead school will take part in events to inspire pupils and their parents and guardians to take simple steps to protect their health, and their family’s health, from air pollution.

The schools were keen to get involved in the activities, alongside the other great work they are doing to reduce the impact of traffic outside their school. As school traffic is one of the main sources of vehicular activity at these locations.

In addition to the active travel initiatives as part of Modeshift, Hartshead will undertake daily travel to school surveys and encourage pupils to walk once a week, where possible, as part of the Walk to School Once a Week scheme.

Golcar’s Eco-Officer will be encouraging children to walk to school and will undertake travel surveys. Children will be creating posters that will be displayed on Clean Air Day.

Our Air Quality Officers will deliver assemblies providing information on air pollution, where it comes from, how it affects our health and how we can change our behaviour to reduce it.

Monitoring the local Air Quality

In addition to the assemblies, we have installed air quality monitoring devices outside the schools to see if awareness raised through activities has any impact on the air quality.

Our Air Quality Officers will also be at the schools asking parents and guardians to pledge to turn off their engines whilst waiting to pick up their children and were possible encouraging them to ‘park and stride’.

Air pollution can reduce life expectancy and affect adults and children in the long and short term. Asthma sufferers and people with respiratory diseases or other ailments are particularly affected. Poor air quality leads to increased hospital admissions for patients with lung and heart disease. Children also suffer from the effects of inhaling poor-quality air.

Councillor Will Simpson, Cabinet Member for Culture and Greener Kirklees said,

“We all have a part to play in keeping our air clean. This year’s Clean Air Day theme highlights the importance of this highlighting how air pollution can impact every organ in everybody and not just those who are vulnerable.

“These initiatives help bring awareness to the small changes we can all make that make big differences, and have a positive impact on air quality, our environment and ultimately our health.

We would encourage everybody to turn engines off, not just when picking up children from school, but wherever possible when waiting for someone to keep our air clean.

How can schools get involved?

Schools can get involved with Clean Air Day by promoting active travel and encouraging parents to switch off their engines at pick-up.

If any schools are interested in the Modeshift STARS Awards Scheme and would like to register they can find out more on their website www.modeshiftstars.org

The two schools have been participating in the Modeshift STARS active travel scheme and have achieved a bronze-level accreditation this academic year.