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Children's anti-idling artworks are a breath of fresh air

Children's anti-idling artworks are a breath of fresh air

31 March 2023
[ Zoom ]
a boy smiles and proudly points to his artwork pinned outside his school, as his teacher stands beside him

Creative and colourful anti-idling banners designed by pupils have gone up outside six schools in Wokingham Borough to support the council’s efforts to improve air quality.


The eye-catching artworks were the winners of an annual competition organised by the authority’s My Journey Wokingham sustainable travel team.


The banners remind drivers to switch off their car engines outside schools, particularly around drop-off and pick-up times, as this contributes to harmful pollution in the air.


This year’s winners were:


  • Felicity (St Teresa's Catholic Academy, Wokingham) with a colourful image of a car emitting a big cloud of fumes as it drives through a big city

  • Emily (Wheatfield Primary School, Winnersh) with a picture of a woodland scene and a “no idling” logo, plus the slogan “If you stop, pollution will drop”

  • Lucas (Emmbrook Junior School, Wokingham) with a car emitting fumes and the warning “Idling kills our environment – turn off your engines!”

  • Sebastian (Nine Mile Ride Primary School, Finchampstead) with a design showing the fumes emitted from an idling car vehicle in a built-up area

  • Izzy (The Colleton Primary School, Twyford) with a “Stop Idling – Say No to Pollution” design including flowers, planet Earth and an idling car

  • Aeyva (Charvil Piggott Primary School) with a design showing how the air looks clearer and clouds look happier when car engines are turned off

A creative way to care for our children’s health


Simon Dale, interim director of place and growth at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “Thank you very much to all the children who worked hard on these amazing designs – it was so difficult to pick a winner from such a high standard of entries and our team really enjoyed looking at all of them.


“We’re pleased that the pupils put such thought into their submissions and really understood the importance of doing all we can to reduce air pollution. I hope these banners will draw people’s attention and inspire drivers to consider how they could make a difference by changing their daily habits.


“On top of not idling, we’d urge everyone to consider making the school run and other local trips on foot, by bike or by public transport where they can instead of driving. This has so many benefits, both for people’s physical and mental health and the environment.”


Helping to secure cleaner air for everyone


Ten schools are now signed up to the borough’s Air Quality project, which is funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Pupils take part in a range of activities including monitoring air quality and encouraging their school community to travel more sustainably.


Air pollution is thought to contribute to about 40,000 deaths in the UK every year and running vehicle engines while standing still, commonly known as idling, is a major contributor to this. The issue is linked to many illnesses like coronary heart disease, stroke, breathing problems like asthma or lung cancer.


Children are particularly vulnerable while their bodies are still growing, which is why the council is targeting schools as part of its wider anti-idling campaigning. For more on this, visit the Public Protection Partnership's website.


The council has also published a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan which should help attract funding to improve footways and cycleways for all age groups over the years to come.

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