Barrow Borough Council works with local schools to improve air quality

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This year, Barrow Borough Council is working with local schools to improve air quality and create a healthier environment for students, teachers and parents.

Furness Academy, St Pius X Catholic Primary School, Ramsden Infants, St Pauls Junior School and Newton Primary School have been learning about air pollution caused by road traffic outside schools and the effect of this pollution on their health.

This project comes at a time when a lot of students are worried about climate change and are keen to improve the environment around them. The Public Protection Team have been teaching them about air pollution, explaining the science and asking them to consider how their school can work to reduce air pollution particularly around pick up and drop off times.

Roadside monitoring has been set up by Barrow Borough Council to measure the nitrogen dioxide levels outside three of the schools, which will give an indication of how much road traffic affects the air quality around these schools.

Recent research found nursery and primary school children were exposed to 30% more toxic pollution than adults while walking to school. Children being driven to school are exposed to double the pollution inside a vehicle compared to those walking on busy streets.

Emissions from petrol and diesel engines have been linked to asthma and other lung diseases, allergies, heart disease, cancer and other health problems. Vehicle exhaust fumes are damaging to everyone’s health but it especially affects children, who breathe more and at a faster rate than adults.

Parents can help reduce air pollution caused by the school run by doing the following:

  • Turn off the engine when waiting outside school
  • Take up cycling and walk where you can
  • Using public transport
  • Car sharing
  • Park further away and walk the rest

Councillor Ann Thompson, Leader of the Council and Nominated Official Spokesperson for Environment and Planning said “While we would like to encourage people out of their cars, we know that many people need to drive their children to school. We want people to be mindful of vehicle pollution and when they know they are going to stop for a minute or more, to turn their engine off. This small act is a simple change that anyone can do to help improve air quality around schools.”

If your school would like to know more, please email for more information.