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21st Sep, 2021

Solihull schoolchildren praised for air pollution busting efforts

Sarah Mason 16th Jun, 2021

SOLIHULL schoolchildren have been hailed for their efforts to tackle air pollution.

Pupils at Smith’s Wood Primary Academy have been designing posters calling for motorists to switch off their car engines when waiting outside the school gates to improve the local air quality as part of Solihull Council’s anti-idling campaign.

Andy Mills, the school’s environmental awareness lead said: “Our pupils noticed how many cars were left running outside the school so were really keen to be part of this campaign.

“We also have a banner as an active reminder on our school gates. We have all noticed and appreciate the impact of cleaner air as a result of this campaign.”

Sharman’s Cross Junior School has not only put the topic on the curriculum to teach children in the classroom but has joined forced with Solihull Council to urge parents to leave the car at home and walk to school at least once a week.

The Walk at least Once a Week (WOW) programme is a partnership between Solihull Council, Living Streets and Transport for West Midlands.

Sara Wilkes, Head Teacher at Sharman’s Cross Junior School said: “The WOW initiative is very popular amongst our parents and pupils, with many choosing to walk, cycle or scoot to school when they can.

“Not only is this better for the environment, it’s great for the health and wellbeing of our pupils, which in turn has a positive effect on their learning.”

In total, 16 schools across the borough are taking part in the WOW initiative, increasing active travel at these schools to 81 per cent in December 2020 according to Living Streets.

Councillor Andy Mackiewicz, cabinet member for Climate Change, Planning and Housing visited Sharman’s Cross Junior School and Smith’s Wood Primary Academy ahead of Clean Air Day, June 17.

He said: “Air pollution is real, it is the top environmental risk to human health in the UK, so, it is lovely to see local young children getting involved in this very important issue.

“We’re trying to give children the confidence to cycle and walk to school with family and friends, so that parents can leave the cars behind as road traffic is one of the main causes of pollution.

“We all need to think about leaving the car at home – even if it’s just for one day per week and use public transport, walk or cycle.”

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