School streets programme to contribute to cleaner air

A road outside a Barnsley primary school will be closed to mark the launch of the School Street road closure project and Clean Air Day 2021, encouraging families to leave the car at home and walk, scoot or cycle to school instead.

Taking place on Thursday 17 June, Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign and looks to inspire people to take simple steps to protect their health, their families’ health, and children’s health from air pollution.

A section of Shaftesbury Avenue outside Hoyland Springwood Primary School will be closed from 7.30am to 4.30pm on Thursday 17 June to improve road safety and reduce harmful air pollution from cars. Parents are asked to leave the car at home so that children can walk, cycle and scoot to school without the danger of traffic.

By closing the road to traffic, the street outside school becomes a safe space for families to socialise and children to play games before the start of the school day.

Using funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), a further nine road closure events will occur at other schools around the borough, where it is intended that changes in air quality will be monitored.

Councillor Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said, “We are faced with school streets across Barnsley that are dangerous, stressful and unpleasant places to be during drop-off and pick-up times.

“By closing the road to all but essential traffic through the School Streets programme, we can host activities for children and demonstrate that streets can be enjoyable places for children and families to live, work, learn and play together.

“Travelling to school by alternative means – like walking, biking or scootering – has benefits for physical and mental health, can leave children feeling energised as they start their school day and allows families to spend more time together.”

Hoyland Springwood Head Teacher, Mrs Jennifer Hunt, said: “We’re really keen on improving the health and wellbeing of our pupils, whilst improving access for residents.

“We are constantly going the extra mile, and we know that the journey to school is an important part of the school day.

“Not only do we want pupils, parents and staff to arrive at school safely, but we also want to encourage them to travel in a way that keeps them fit, active and healthy whilst improving air quality for all.”

For more information about Clean Air Day or to get involved, please visit www.cleanairday.org.uk. Join in the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #CleanAirDay.

For further information about the School Streets programme, please visit www.schoolstreets.org.uk.

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