Gorse Hall pupils go green to promote Clean Air Week

SCHOOLCHILDREN from Gorse Hall Primary, Stalybridge, led on activities across Tameside to promote Clean Air Week, which ran from June 17-23.

They took to the busy streets outside their school as junior PCSOs to tackle idling cars, a large contributor to air pollution. Warning notes were posted on offending vehicles.

The patrols were among a wide number of events across Tameside to support Clean Air Week and raise awareness of Transport for Greater Manchester’s (TFGM) Clean Air Conversation which runs until June 30.

The Junior PCSO scheme, first initiated by Russell Scott Primary, Denton, in April 2017 and rolled out to other local schools, has proven so successful it was championed by TfGM to schools across the region as part of wider Clean Air Week events.

Greater Manchester walking and cycling commissioner and former Olympian Chris Boardman visited Gorse Hall, which has had eco-school status for 21 years, to see how the scheme worked and find out about their other Clean Air Day activities, which included making a video, competitions, pledges and a treasure hunt.

Russell Scott Primary closed off the road for the day so pupils could take over the street to hold a fete, which included cycling and scooter lessons.

And TfGM held an electronic bike roadshow and free cycle health checks in Ashton Market Square to promote making cleaner journeys by bike.

Meanwhile, Tameside Council licensing officers visited taxi ranks across the borough and spoke to cab drivers about switching engines off and also raise awareness of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan proposals.

The plan proposes a package of measures to significantly reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions from the most polluting road vehicles, which are linked to range of serious health problems and reduced life expectancy.

The council has held a number of Clean Air Conversation engagement events to help involve residents in having their say, including drop-ins at Ashton Library and Tameside Hospital and neighbourhood forum meetings.

The conversation was also discussed at the Tameside and Glossop Partnership Engagement Network on June 25. For further information see www.tameside.gov.uk/tamesideandglossopPEN

Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council executive member for neighbourhood services, who attended the event at Russell Scott Primary as well as speaking to taxi drivers about the Clean Air Plan, said: “Air pollution at the roadside is one of the biggest threats to our health so it is essential that each and every one of us plays our part in taking action to do something to tackle it.

A great place to start is for everyone to drop at least one car journey a week – walk to school and the local shops, cycle to work, it will all contribute to making a difference in cleaning up the air in our neighbourhoods.

“I’m proud to see Tameside children leading the way in getting this message, which will help improve everyone’s health, out there and I hope it will inspire people to do their bit.”

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