Can you put the brakes on school run anti-idling?

image depicting car emissions

Wigan Council has launched a campaign which encourages parents on the school run to turn off their car engines when stationary.

One of the most common places for cars to be left idling is outside school gates and it means that the most vulnerable in our community are being exposed to pollutants.

Air pollution contributes to 1,200 early deaths in Greater Manchester each year with more than 100 of those linked to Wigan Borough.

As part of this new campaign, the council is asking schools in Wigan Borough to take an active part and send in posters from pupils which outline why engines should be turned off in the vicinity of schools.

Winning entries from across the borough will then be put forward for design and erected on lampposts around schools which remind parents about the dangers.

It’s hoped that the polite reminder to drivers will mean the air we breathe becomes cleaner and healthier for everyone.

Carl Sweeney, Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, said: “Air pollution is something that affects all of us, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it’s not having an impact of our health.

“By taking simple steps such as switching off your engine when possible, we can all help improve the air quality for everyone.

“We hope by highlighting this important issue that residents will support us and turn off their engines or even seek alternative greener forms of travel.”

Motorists in Wigan and Leigh can make some simple changes to improve air quality by switching to cycling or walking for more of the local trips.

But if driving is necessary then parents can still decide to park five minutes away from the school and complete the journey on foot.

Environmental officers at the council can help schools co-ordinate this by marking out walking zones which tell parents when they are within five minutes.

Not only does a five-minute walk zone keep the areas around schools safe for children but it means parents are not wasting time looking for a parking space and means children start the day with a little exercise.

The launch of the campaign follows the Deal 2030 Big Listening Project where residents were clear on how important cleaner streets and open spaces were.

Entries are open until 5pm on 29 November 2019 and must be designed by hand. Scanned copies can be sent to [email protected] but please keep a copy of the original.

When submitting, please include the name of your school, the pupil’s name, age and a contact telephone number.

For more information please visit Clean Air GM Schools, where you can find curriculum-linked lesson plans and resources with the latest scientific understanding and campaign tools.