Joining forces for cleaner air
The schools are joining forces with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Maria Miller MP to promote the Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane initiative.
They have been provided with hundreds of car stickers, designed to encourage other drivers to switch off their engine while waiting, which will be handed to parents and staff.
Last year, Hatch Warren Junior School was part of an air quality study led by My Journey Hampshire. Pupils learned about air quality, the effects of pollution and how we can all do our bit to help.
They also monitored levels of pollution at sites around the school, and found the air quality was relatively good.
Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services and the Environment Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “Vehicles are the main source of air pollution, so I would encourage everyone to think about how you might be able to use your car less.
“But when you need to drive, please think about how you’re driving. Idling contributes to toxic emissions in the air we breathe both inside and outside your car.
“This is a particular issue outside schools, as we find that a lot of parents will leave their engine idling while waiting to collect their children.
“Simply switching your engine off and on again will help to reduce air pollution.”
Jaz Williams, Hatch Warren Infant School travel coordinator said: “The school has worked hard at launching the ‘Park and Stride’ initiative that the children have embraced and enjoyed. This scheme encourages parents to travel actively to school by parking further away from the school and walking.
"By educating children at such a young age about air quality and the importance of lowering air pollution we are empowering them to have a better understanding and therefore a lasting impact on the environment that they live in.”
Joe Sandell, Hatch Warren Junior School travel coordinator said: “The school council and Junior Road Safety Officers have been working really hard to promote clean air by encouraging families to travel to school actively.
"Throughout the school children have engaged with road safety activities and special assemblies have helped develop their understanding of how the actions that we take can affect our environment.”
Maria Miller MP said: “We all need to take responsibility for protecting and improving our air quality in Basingstoke, and everyone can play their part in this.
“This is why I helped to launch the Clean Air Parents’ Network, with the British Lung Foundation, in Parliament last year, and why I recently visited another school air quality project session and the Breathe Easy health support group, to help raise awareness of air quality in our town.
“This is also why I am supporting the borough council’s Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane initiative. The car stickers are a great reminder to drivers to turn off their car engines when they are stationary, which really helps to reduce air pollution.”
For more information about Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane, and tips about how you can make a difference, visit https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/clean-air.