SCHOOLS in neighbours across Leicester are running environmental events focusing on tackling traffic pollution and encouraging sustainable travel.
Pupils and staff from a dozen city schools are taking part in national Clean Air Day 2023.
Activities range from organising walking buses and “park and stride” arrangements, to cut traffic and emissions in surrounding streets, to road closures enabling schools to transform the areas outside their gates to accommodate outdoor games and sports.
There will also be assemblies focusing on the importance of clean air, street art, bikeability sessions to promote safe cycling, and craft sessions.
The events are being run by Leicester City Council, national walking and cycling charity Sustrans and Living Streets, the UK Charity for everyday walking.
Crown Hills Community College is launching a new Park and Stride zone, encouraging parents to park away from the school and walk to its gates to cut traffic congestion, while Folville Junior School will be trialling a road closure of Folville Rise from Ellesmere Road to Arden Terrace, with Sustrans and city council staff and Living Streets providing a Bike Bus and walking bus to the school in the morning.
Temporary road closures or part-closures will also take place outside St Thomas More Primary School and Overdale Infants, both in Knighton, as well as Sandfield Close Primary in Rushey Fields to allow children to play safely in the street and take part in Clean Air Day-themed activities.
St John the Baptist C of E Primary School in Clarendon Park is due to launch a Walking Bus operated by the PTA and other parents at the school.
Pupils and staff at Kestrel Mead Academy in Hamilton are planning to create a large piece of playground art, centred around filling one side of a set of lungs with clean air and the other filled with dirty air, highlighting how vulnerable children are to airborne pollution.
Other schools taking part include St Mary’s Fields Junior School in Rowley Fields, Coleman Primary School in Evington, Rushey Mead Academy and Buswell’s Lodge in Beaumont Leys, along with Catherine Junior School in Belgrave.
Leicester deputy city mayor for climate, economy and culture, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “Clean Air Day is a chance for schools to get involved in running enjoyable events and activities, but with a serious message about the importance of improving air quality.
“In recent years we have trialled schemes such as road closures in the streets outside schools which have proved very popular, both in terms of keeping polluting vehicles away from the school gates and helping to make those traffic-free roads safer for families to walk or cycle to school instead.
“It is very encouraging to see so many young people getting involved in this vital work.”
More information on Clean Air Day is available at the Action For Clean Air website at www.actionforcleanair.org.uk/campaigns/clean-air-day