Schoolchildren in the north-west London borough of Brent are spearheading a new campaign designed to reduce vehicle emissions outside schools.
Pupils and teachers from John Keble Church of England Primary School in Harlesden launched a campaign yesterday (2 November) aimed at reducing harmful emissions created by vehicle idling around the school grounds.
Using a campaign toolkit designed by Brent council, schools in the borough can develop their own campaigns to help reduce air pollution near their grounds.
Alice Wright, John Kebleâ€™s Healthy Schools Officer and PSHE leader, said: â€œAir quality is a key issue in London at the moment and John Keble Church of England School is delighted to launch his project to try and ensure a safer environment for our children. This is a particularly pertinent issue for us as our playground, like many other schools, is right next to a congested main road.â€
The children, teachers and parents of the school will be establishing a â€˜No Idling Zoneâ€™ to encourage vehicle owners to turn their engines off whilst they wait for children outside of the school.
Councillor Eleanor Southwood, Cabinet Member for Environment, attended the launch at John Keble Primary School and said: â€œIt was fantastic to meet the pupils and teachers at John Keble this morning and hear about all the different things they are doing to reduce the number of car pollution and improve air quality.
â€œWe all have a part to play when it comes to improving the quality of air we breathe and there are things each of us can do to help. Our schools are the right place to start because children are particularly at risk of harm. But whether you’re driving to school, hospital or to the shops, please turn off your engine and do your bit to make Brent a cleaner place.”
The impact of air quality in schools was highlighted this week with the National Education Union and the British Lung Foundation having issued guidance to Headteachers on preventing their pupils from being exposed to air pollution (see airqualitynews.com story).
The guidance, which promotes â€˜practical stepsâ€™ to tackling air pollution suggests that installing air monitors to show when toxic air is worst and what measures could be the most effective to tackle the problem.
Environmental law firm ClientEarth has also recently launched a â€˜Poisoned Playgroundsâ€™ campaign to raise awareness of the impact of air pollution on schoolchildren (see airqualitynews.com story).