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Wokingham Borough battle idling engines, launch their LCWIP and announce 6,600 new trees

As the Special Report  in the latest issue of Air Quality News Magazine demonstrated, the problem of traffic-generated pollutants around schools is a serious one. 

The Transport Research Laboratory  found that idling for a 30 second period produces nearly twice as much pollution as switching off then restarting the engine.

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So it is that freshly designed posters have gone up outside six schools in Wokingham Borough to support the council’s efforts to improve air quality.

The creative, pupil-designed banners were the winners of an annual competition organised by the authority’s My Journey Wokingham sustainable travel team.

The banners remind drivers to switch off their car engines outside schools, particularly around drop-off and pick-up times, as this contributes to harmful pollution in the air.

Simon Dale, interim director of place and growth at Wokingham Borough Council, said: ‘Thank you very much to all the children who worked hard on these amazing designs – it was so difficult to pick a winner from such a high standard of entries and our team really enjoyed looking at all of them.

‘We’re pleased that the pupils put such thought into their submissions and really understood the importance of doing all we can to reduce air pollution. I hope these banners will draw people’s attention and inspire drivers to consider how they could make a difference by changing their daily habits.

‘On top of not idling, we’d urge everyone to consider making the school run and other local trips on foot, by bike or by public transport where they can instead of driving. This has so many benefits, both for people’s physical and mental health and the environment.’

Last week the council published their Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) – developed by the same My Journey team – and announced that a new area of woodland is to be created on a currently unused site already owned by Wokingham Council. In the region of 6,600 native trees wildflower seeding will be supplied and planted with the help of funding from the Woodland Trust’s Emergency Tree Fund, which has committed £300,000 to various forms of planting across the borough.

The council have also just presented hundreds of free saplings to residents and businesses under its Garden Forest Scheme, also supported by the Woodland Trust.

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