STALYBRIDGE schoolchildren are calling on drivers to help tackle deadly air pollution by turning their car engines off at the school gates.
Pupils and teachers at Gorse Hall Primary and Nursery School are helping raise awareness of the health dangers of keeping the engine running when parked up.
They’ve joined Tameside Council in supporting Transport for Greater Manchester’s campaign to tackle some of the common myths about leaving vehicle engines ticking over.
The youngsters held up signs saying “engine off when you stop” to drive home the message. The roadside signs will be placed around the borough.
A recent study revealed that switching off the engine when at a standstill could help reduce air pollution during peak travel hours by as much as 30 per-cent.
One misconception is that it’s a waste of fuel to restart the engine. But leaving it running wastes more fuel – every two minutes ticking over is the fuel equivalent of driving a mile.
The campaign also calls on people to walk or cycle where possible, use public transport, car share and to consider upgrading to a hybrid or electric vehicle.
The eco-friendly school is already an advocate for tackling air pollution after taking part in National Clean Air Day last summer.
Pupils made a video about its causes and what families can do to protect themselves and the environment — and were named runners-up in a competition run by TfGM.
Headteacher Alexandra Flood said: “Our school has done much to raise awareness of the dangers poor air quality can have on our health.
“And we’ve asked children, parents and staff to pledge to take action to reduce air pollution.
“These changes can be as simple as switching off the car engine during the school drop off, walking to school and avoiding busy roads, or travelling by bus or train.”
Tameside Council executive leader Cllr Brenda Warrington said: “This is a tremendous initiative from Gorse Hall Primary and Nursery School and it is something that we should encourage all schools across Tameside to do.
“Air pollution is a real health danger – but we can all take simple actions to help reduce it.”
It’s estimated that air pollution contributes to the premature deaths of up to 2,000 people in Greater Manchester each year.
Watch Gorse Hall’s clean air day video online at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLYsAAIUGgY