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Pupils engage idling drivers at the school gates

Year 6 students at St Mary's School have been learning about air pollution as part of the town-wide Saffron Walden Clean Air Project.

The school, in Castle Street, Saffron Walden, hosted an anti-idling event with MP Smarter Travel and Uttlesford District Council's Climate Change Team. The pupils attended a briefing about the perils of idling - which increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air and affects people's health and the environment - and the benefits of turning off the engine when a vehicle is not moving.

They then took to the road area around the front of the school to speak to drivers who were idling, and even found some motorists to thank for switching off their engines.

Year 6 pupils Maisy, Fraser, Logan and Harlee May said: "Luckily, a large number of drivers had switched their engines off - but many had not!"

They added: "We learnt about idling and how it is bad for school children as well as members of the public, particularly those who live in houses close by. We learnt that idling pollutes the environment, can make asthma worse and will negatively affect children's lungs. Also, leaving the engine running burns unnecessary amounts of fuel."

The anti-idling event was one of a number of initiatives organised by sustainable travel consultants MP Smarter Travel in conjunction with the council to raise awareness of air pollution. Schools are receiving ongoing support to facilitate more walking and cycling, including free cycle training through Essex County Council, as well as banners and events that discourage idling and leaflets and assemblies to educate students on the sources and impacts of air pollution.

Residents can find out more about the Saffron Walden Clean Air Project, including other upcoming initiatives, at:



8 March 2024

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