Local school girl Mahveen Rafay, aged eight, has seen Wokingham Borough Council bring her prize-winning artwork to the attention residents across the borough, after it was put up in key areas around the borough to encourage drivers to switch off their engines.
As part of the council’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030, it invited budding young artists, with a passion to protect our environment, to help redesign signage around Wokingham Station and Twyford crossroads.
The competition was fierce but Mahveen, who attends St Paul's Junior School in Wokingham, was chosen from many amazing entrants and it is hoped that her eye catching design will encourage drivers to switch off their engines when stationary and help to reduce air pollution across the borough.
The winning design included a picture of the earth surrounded by children encouraging drivers to help save the earth with less air pollution. Mahveen’s picture also included a thumbs up to cycling and walking and a thumbs down to driving with statements including “Earth wants you to use less cars – ride a bike” and “Earth wants you to use less cars because they cause air pollution”.
Cllr Gregor Murray, executive member for climate emergency said, “Congratulations to Mahveen and all our young residents who entered our design competitions. We are working hard to improve air quality across the borough but we can’t do this without the support of our residents, businesses and visitors so it’s fantastic to see the younger generation so passionate about protecting the environment as well as our health and wellbeing”.
“Walking or cycling instead of using the car where possible, or turning off our engines when our cars are stationary are small changes that can have a big impact if we all take up the challenge to help improve our environment for us now and for future generations.”
Mahveen’s winning design was selected by the council’s My Journey team. “We’re dedicated to promoting borough-wide active and sustainable travel. Our My Journey team aim is to help and inspire residents and employees of all ages to walk, scoot, cycle or use buses or trains where possible and in turn improve air quality across the borough and bring us one step closer to carbon neutrality,” said Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways.
The team are also working with schools and have welcomed an eco-travel officer to join them recently to work with schools in the Wokingham and Twyford areas, which is paid for through the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) funding from the government.
The eco travel officer is working with local schools and has been installing the first round of diffuser tubes at Evedons Primary School, St Paul’s Junior School and Hawthorns Primary Schools which will measure NO2 levels as part of the council’s Air Quality Project. The council was recently praised by the Public Protection Partnership for its proactive and dedicated approach to improving air quality across the area.
For information on how you can play your part in improving air quality visit www.wokingham.gov.uk and search air quality. To find out about My Journey visit myjourneywokingham.com.
To sign up to the council’s new Climate Emergency newsletter launching in the new year visit cutt.ly/shK8Cpq.