Two primary schools in Lees have recently joined forces to tackle some of the issues caused by traffic in their local area by introducing their own Walk to School Week.
With air pollution and general safety issues a main cause for concern for pupils attending Hey with Zion and St. Edwards, children were recently asked to walk all or some of the way to their school, or even just a little bit further than normal, as part of this initiative.
Pupils were also encouraged to form healthy habits and recognise the benefits of walking every day with the aim being to raise awareness of these issues, improve their fitness levels and contribute to reduced levels of air pollution and congestion.
At the start of term only 78 children out of 220 said they had walked all the way to school. But during their Walk to School Week more than half of the 160 children (98) surveyed said they had either walked all the way or a bit more than usual.
The schools are now working in partnership with their local ward councillors, Transport for Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Moving (GM Walking), Oldham Council, residents and the children and parents of the school, to nurture their ideas. This is to ensure future journeys in their area are more relaxing and are a healthier experience - especially at peak school times.
Helen Lockwood, Deputy Chief Executive, said: “It’s fantastic to see our schools introducing their own initiatives to combat air pollution.
“Dirty air damages our health, and unless we take action across Oldham and Greater Manchester we will continue to have dangerously high levels of pollutants, including harmful nitrogen, in our atmosphere.
“So I want to thank both Hey with Zion and St. Edwards primary schools for doing their bit to help clean our air by encouraging our children to walk to school.
“We should all do our bit to help tackle dirty air. Whether it be that we use public transport or car share with a colleague, as part of our commute into work – even taking that 10-minute walk that would usually be 2 minutes in the car – every small step makes a difference.”
To find out what you can do to tackle air pollution visit: cleanairgm.com