Clean Air Day: Hartshead Junior and Infant School urges parents to turn off car engines when waiting to collect their children

This Clean Air Day, Kirklees Council is supporting Hartshead Junior and Infant School in encouraging parents and guardians to turn engines off when waiting to pick their children up from school.

By Staff Reporter
Thursday, 16th June 2022, 6:00 am

Today (Thursday), the 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.

Hartshead, together with Golcar Junior and Infant School, has been participating in the Modeshift STARS active travel scheme and has achieved a bronze level accreditation this academic year.

The schools were keen to get involved in Clean Air Day activities, along with the other work they are doing, to reduce the impact of traffic outside their school - especially as school traffic is one of the main sources of vehicular activity at these locations.

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Air pollution can reduce life expectancy and affect adults and children in the long and short-term

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 also be creating posters to be displayed on Clean Air Day.

The council’s air quality officers also delivered 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.

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

Hartshead Junior and Infant School. Photo: Google

Alongside teachers and pupils, air quality officers will also be asking parents and guardians to pledge to turn off their engines while waiting to pick up their children and where 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, people with respiratory diseases or other ailments are particularly affected, with poor air quality leading 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 and 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."

There is still time for other schools to get involved with supporting Clean Air Day by promoting active travel and encouraging the switching off of engines.

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