Transport is a major source of pollution around Burnley Road Academy.
As Calderdale Council’s Cabinet prepares to debate policy to improve air quality, practical measures to help combat the dangers have been put in place at a school.
The council has installed a “green screen” around Burnley Road Academy at Mytholmroyd – it’s a plant-based perimeter fence around the school playground – with the aim of providing physical help and promoting awareness of the serious risk air pollution poses to everyone’s health, with national Clean Air Day on the horizon (20/6).
Transport is a major source of pollution and Burnley Road Academy was identified as the first school to trial this new screening as it is located alongside a busy main road and while flood alleviation work is ongoing is also subject to frequent static traffic queues.
Part of the council’s Air Quality policy, which Cabinet will consider next Tuesday (18/6), is encouraging alternative methods of getting around to personal transport and a link up with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s £60m CityConnect programme, including cycling and walking, has produced funding for a shelter at the school big enough to house around 30 bikes or scooters.
CityConnect’s Bike Friendly Schools scheme is also providing free cycle training for some pupils.
Cabinet member for Climate Change and Environment is one of the school’s ward councillors, Scott Patient (Lab, Luddenden Foot) who says air quality is an issue which has to be tackled.
“Tackling air pollution is a real priority and I’m pleased that we’ve been able to test out the use of green screens to monitor their effectiveness in reducing pollutants.
“Burnley Road is one of the busiest roads in Calderdale and two of our Air Quality Management Areas – areas where air quality objectives are not being achieved – are located on this road.
“Children are more vulnerable to breathing in polluted air than adults, so it’s important we do all we can to protect them from harmful toxins,” he said.
Headteacher of Burnley Road Academy, Clare Cope, has said parents and staff alike had raised concerns about the increasing volumes of standing traffic and hoped the screening would make a difference.