Pollution hotspot: Linslade pupils and Friends of The Earth give clear message to drivers over idling engines risk by school

'It was wonderful how parents listened to the children and when we asked them, they turned off their engines'

Friday, 25th June 2021, 10:22 am
Updated Friday, 25th June 2021, 10:24 am

Motorists were given a strong message about the dangers of creating a pollution hotspot outside Linslade School through their idling engines as pupils joined environmental campaigners to highlight the risks.

The middle school pupils spoke through their artwork as they joined forces with South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth on Tuesday afternoon (June 22) in Mentmore Road.

The children held up their posters and the banners they'd designed themselves calling for “clean air”, while members of Friends of the Earth engaged with the drivers explaining that leaving the engine idling creates significantly higher levels of pollution inside the car than outside as toxic chemicals from vehicle exhausts can pass straight through a vehicle’s air filter and build up inside the vehicle. It follows the lead of the RAC who have been urging drivers to turn off their engines by schools.

Linslade School pupils and their posters
Linslade School pupils and their posters

Headteacher Mark Gibbs said: “We are delighted that our learners will be supporting this environmental initiative through their cross-curricular art project. Clearly this is an important issue and one which affects us all. Linslade learners are always looking for ways to positively impact their local community as they develop into leaders of tomorrow.”

Ken Barry, of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, added: “The children of Linslade School had really understood the issues and showed how much they cared about the future of our planet.

"It was wonderful how parents listened to the children and when we asked them, they turned off their engines. It is important that we stop idling engines, particularly outside schools, as studies have shown this type of pollution to be especially damaging to children's development and especially to their lungs.

"In just one minute, an idling car produces enough exhaust emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful chemicals, including cyanide, NOx and PM2.5. So please remember; turn it off when you park.“

Christine Sheppard of South Beds Friends of the Earth with a banner

A study by Enviro Technology from 2016 found that levels of nitrogen dioxide were on average 21% higher inside their test vehicle with the windows shut than on the road outside.

Furthermore the Healthy Air Campaign, working with King’s College London, Camden Council and London cyclist Vivienne Westwood found that a car driver was exposed to more than twice the amount of air pollution as a person walking the same route.

The Royal College of Physicians estimate that 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with idling engines being a contributing factor. A London coroner this year announced that air pollution was a material considerations in the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah's age 9.

Linslade School pupils and back row L-R, Jeff Hooper governor, Cllr Victoria Harvey, headteacher Mark Gibbs, and Ken Barry and Christine Sheppard of South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth
Linslade School pupils with their posters
Linslade School pupils and their posters
Linslade School pupils and their posters
Linslade School pupils with their posters