'Turn it Off' campaign launched to clamp down on dirty air outside Stockport's schools

Campaign will ask parents and guardians to turn off their car engines when waiting for children outside schools at pick up time

'Turn it Off' campaign launched to clamp down on dirty air outside Stockport's schools

Parents and guardians of Stockport’s children are being urged to ‘Turn it Off’ as part of a new campaign to clamp down on dirty air caused by car exhaust fumes outside the borough’s schools.

Poor air quality is the largest environmental public health issue facing the UK and is estimated to contribute to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths in Greater Manchester each year.

One of the most common places for cars to be left idling is close to schools at drop off and pick up times.

This means school children are being exposed to increased and unnecessary air pollution. Air pollution affects health throughout our life, but it affects children more so as their lungs are still growing.

In March 2019, Stockport Council declared a Climate Emergency and agreed our ambition to become carbon neutral by 2038. This was a cross-party agreement, empowering us to do our part to combat climate change.

The council has created a new strategy, Climate Action Now, which sets out the initial actions that the council will take to make a difference on climate change over the next five years as it begins its journey to net-zero 2038.

This campaign, launched with the help of pupils at St Matthew's Primary School in Edgeley, will link in with the strategy with the aim of educating pupils, parents, guardians, and teachers about how simple tasks can help the borough’s environment.

As part of the ‘Turn it Off’ campaign, which is aimed at reducing air pollution in the borough, the council is asking parents to be aware of dirty air close to schools.

The campaign is asking parents and guardians to:
• Switch off their engines at the school gates when dropping children off.
• Get their children to catch the school bus if you are able to as it will help to cut down harmful air pollution, and tackle congestion.
• Walk or cycle to school. If you can, try and leave the car at home and walk or cycle to school. This will also help children be healthy and active growing up and is a great way to avoid the school run.

Cllr Jude Wells, Cabinet member for Adult Care and Health, said: “Poor air quality is one of the most detrimental factors to our health and wellbeing.

“This is no more apparent than the air pollution caused by engine idling outside schools.

“We would like everyone to support our ‘Turn it Off’ campaign, where we are encouraging all vehicles owners waiting outside schools to turn off their engines and help create a healthier environment for our children.”

Cllr Sheila Bailey, Cabinet Member for Sustainable Stockport, added: “This campaign links in to our Stockport CAN strategy, which we launched earlier this year.

“Climate change is everyone’s business, and we know that if we don’t act now, the consequences are unthinkable.

“It involves every single one of us making positive changes to protect ourselves and future generations. The scale of the challenge is huge but we believe Stockport CAN and we will."

Cllr Colin Foster, Cabinet Member for Children, Family Services and Education, said: “Idling cars outside of school entrances is having a detrimental impact on the health of Stockport’s children.

“Working in partnership with our schools across the borough, we want the message to be clear for parents and guardians – if you are waiting in your car outside school, please turn your engine off.”

For more details about the campaign visit Clean Air in Greater Manchester and information about Stockport CAN is here.