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Pupils at five Wokingham Borough schools have once again designed colourful artworks to encourage motorists not to idle their engines while their vehicles are stationary near to schools.

The annual display is part of an anti-idling initiative by the council’s My Journey Wokingham sustainable travel team, which is working to reduce air pollution at these sites as part of its Air Quality Schools scheme.

A winner from each school was picked to display their work as part of this popular competition.

Five primaries from across the borough and one secondary took part, all in areas where the council is working with the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to improve air quality.

The signs remind drivers that idling their engines outside schools, which is a particular problem around pick-up and drop-off times, contributes to harmful air pollution.

The council is striving to reduce this as substances like particulates and nitrogen dioxide, both created by burning fuel, cause a range of health problems – especially in children.

This year’s winners were:

  • Charlotte (Year 5, Evendons Primary School, Wokingham) has a brilliant bold design which depicted the impact of air pollution on our planet.
  • Arham and Henry (Year 3 and Yr6, Westende Junior School). These winners were chosen because Arham had drawn a brilliant composition with great perspective and Henry’s design was bold and eye catch to get drivers attention.
  • Scarlett (Year 5, The Hawthorns Primary School, Wokingham) winning entry had a brilliantly catchy slogan ‘Less Pollution is the Best Solution’ and beautifully drawn artwork to boot.
  • Holly (Year 6, Hawkedon Primary School, Lower Earley) with a bold design that had clear messages to drivers to switch off their engines when near to the school.
  • Summer (Year 9, St Crispin’s secondary school, Wokingham) with beautifully painted poster that illustrated the negative impact of air pollution on the natural environment and a clear message to all drivers to stop engine idling

By not running their engines while stationary motorists lower the risk of causing or exacerbating illnesses like coronary heart disease, stroke, asthma and other breathing problems or lung cancer. Children are particularly vulnerable as their bodies are still growing.

A total of six schools are participating in this year’s My Journey’s  DEFRA funded, Air Quality Schools project. Schools take part in a range of activities including pupil’s monitoring pollution levels around the school, a Dr Bike session prior to Bikeability training and encouraging pupils to walk to school and parents to drive less over the course of and academic year

The council is also striving to improve walking and cycling routes around the borough, with external funding, to make this a safer and more attractive option.