Parents Urged To Turn Engines Off Outside Schools

Parents and guardians of school age children in Co Down are being urged to turn their car engines off while outside schools in a new council initiative.

The first of its kind in Northern Ireland, 'Engine Off- Prevent The Cough' was launched by Ards and North Down Borough Council and Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) last week.

Some 20 primary schools are taking part and hoping to tackle air pollution in and around schools by educating students, parents and the general public on the effect idling vehicles have on public health.

The councils have provided participating primary schools with a resource pack, which includes a range of educational materials and resources to help them develop their own no idling project. The campaign will not only result in improved air quality, but develop Key Stage 2 cross curricular skills through language and literacy, mathematics and numeracy, 'the world around us', personal development and mutual understanding.

Mayor of Ards and North Down Alderman Bill Keary hopes the project will make significant improvements to the local environment.
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"Air pollution affects us all and idling outside school gates at drop off and pick up means that children are exposed to increased and unnecessary air pollution," Alderman Keary said. "Our no idling campaign is really simple and will help to raise everyone's awareness of the issue. And by walking or cycling to school, we can improve our health through exercise, limit air pollution and lower greenhouse gases all at the same time. It is important that we all do our bit to tackle the problem."

LCCC's Chair of the Environmental Services Committee, Alderman James Baird, added: "Air pollution harms the health of millions of people worldwide every year, particularly the more vulnerable members of society like children, older people and those with existing health conditions.

"Idling happens when your vehicle engine is running but you're not moving. For example, when waiting outside a school, at a red light or at roadworks for more than 10-20 seconds.

"We want to educate students and parents about the benefits of not idling and the small things they can do to make a big difference so that the Lisburn Castlereagh area becomes a safer and healthier place to live, work and visit for generations to come."

The project is part-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural affairs.


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