Posted on Thursday 5th December 2019
Pupils used black balloons to illustrate how for every minute a car idles, they will produce enough foul exhaust fumes to fill around 150 balloons.
A Staffordshire primary school has won regional recognition for its work promoting active and sustainable travel and combatting air pollution outside their school.
Working with Staffordshire County Council’s Active Travel team, Heath Hayes Primary Academy in Cannock have won the Regional Modeshift STARS School Travel Award. The award is given to schools who have demonstrated excellence in supporting sustainable travel.
Campaigns to promote more walking, cycling and scootering to school have all helped to encourage more healthy lifestyles and improve air quality outside the school gates.
An anti-idling initiative encouraging drivers to switch off their engines when parked up outside the school also saw a 20 per cent reduction in air pollution during pick up and drop off times. Drivers were told by pupils that for every minute they are idling they will produce enough foul exhaust fumes to fill around 150 balloons.
In just two years school journeys by car have decreased from 60 per cent to just 11 per cent. Walking journeys have increased by nine per cent in the same period with cycling journeys increasing from zero to seven per cent. Scooter use has also increased from two per cent of journeys to ten per cent.
Talking about the achievement, Amy Fidler, Headteacher at the school said:
“We’re all really excited with our award and the fact we’re now in the running for national recognition.
“Tackling air pollution outside the school has been one of our priorities and I’m incredibly proud of the whole school community’s efforts to help achieve this. They are really determined to make a difference.
“Last term on Clean Air Day we managed to reduce air pollution by 20% which is no mean feat and shows that if we all do our bit we can make a difference. The ongoing work the pupils are doing is great and helping to improve our Air Quality all the time.”
Clive Thomson, Assistant Director for Connected and Sustainable County at Staffordshire County Council added:
“Air pollution is an issue that affects everyone, but as we can see from the amazing work done by the pupils at Heath Hayes it’s something we can all help to reduce.
“Our work with schools to encourage more active and sustainable travel is having a real impact. And, remember, by walking or cycling to school, we can not only improve people’s health through exercise, but we can cut congestion, limit air pollution and lower greenhouse gases at the same time.”
The School will be visiting the Houses of Parliament in April 2020 to compete against 4 other regional finalists for the National School Travel Award.
The Staffordshire County Council Air Aware Project continues to work with schools, businesses and the wider public to raise awareness of Air Pollution and improve air quality in the worst affected areas of Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent. It’s one of 15 areas in the region to be given Department for Rural Affairs funding to tackle the issue.
In Staffordshire around 600 deaths every year can be linked to Air Pollution which is also linked to respiratory and heart disease and can cause cancer and severe asthma attacks as well as affecting children’s development.
People can find out more about the small actions they can take to help reduce air pollution at http://airaware.doingourbit.info