Pollution-free pedal to class

Photo Jamie Forbes 25.3.19. ustrans at       Milngavie          Primary School, East Dunbartonshire. Streets closed outside the school.
Photo Jamie Forbes 25.3.19. ustrans at Milngavie Primary School, East Dunbartonshire. Streets closed outside the school.

Streets around Milngavie 
Primary were closed to cars on Monday as the school became was one of 40 across the UK to take part in health and safety initiative “Big Pedal”.

The event was organised by walking and cycling charity Sustrans to promote safety, air quality and active and sustainable travel.

The school, which signed up to Sustrans Scotland’s I Bike education programme in 2017, dates back more than 100 years, with 323 children in school and 80 in Early Years.

Head teacher Garry Graham said: “We thought it was a fun way to get the children involved in active travel and to think about how we can all make the journey to school safer, greener and easier.”

One local parent, who has two children Emily (10) and Sophie (6) at the school, added: “We only have one main junction to cross but it is busy and people don’t always acknowledge the one way street outside the school. It’s very congested. Closing the streets, it’s good not having the 
pollution around the school, especially when the children are coming in and out.

“It’s not the norm in daily life to have that many cars all with their engines running in a very small space.”

Sustrans said new figures have revealed narly two-thirds (63 per cent) of teachers would support a ban on motor vehicles outside school gates during school drop-off and pick up times because of air pollution. The YouGov poll, carried out for Sustrans, surveyed 840 teaching professionals across the UK.

According to Sustrans, air pollution is linked to up to 36,000 premature deaths in the UK each year and 2,000 schools and nurseries are near to roads with damaging levels of motor emissions.

Xavier Brice, Sustrans’ CEO, said: “For too long now, dangerous levels of air pollution near schools have been ignored.”