Pupils urge Edinburgh motorists to ditch their car for clean air day

Pupils from a city primary school have called on motorists to leave their car at home ahead of National Clean Air Day Scotland next month.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:55 am

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

On June 17, people across Scotland are being encouraged to walk or cycle, instead of using the car, particularly on the school run, after research found this could reduce a child exposure to air pollution by 30 per cent.

Sciennes Primary School is one of a dozen in the capital to run a ‘school street,’ where the route outside a school is shut to vehicles at certain times during the school day to cut exposure to air pollution from vehicles.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sciennes pupils call on motorists to ditch cars for clean air day
PICS: Mark Gibson
Sciennes pupils call on motorists to ditch cars for clean air day PICS: Mark Gibson

With a month to go until clean air day primary six Junior Road Safety Officers Eilidh Mowbray, aged 10, Amy Yang, aged 10, and Rory Smith, aged 11, launched the campaign in the Sciennes Road ‘school street’ along with a group from p7 and Lord Provost Frank Ross.

Pupils designed bunting which they hung on the school railings in the once congested road as they signed pledges to walk and cycle and to encourage their families to ditch the car.

They were presented with the first ever Clean Air Day colouring book designed by art students across Scotland which has drawings for children to bring to life on an air pollution.

A breath of fresh air: pupils get first Clean Air Day colouring books PICS: Mark Gibson

In 2018 more than ninety Sciennes’ pupils marched down The Mound with placards proclaiming the need for better air quality before they met with Edinburgh City Council leader, Adam McVey.

Caroline McKenna, co-chair of Sciennes Primary School’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), said: “This school really encourages cycling and walking to school. Having this section of road closed makes everything so much easier for children to get into school. There are massive benefits from ‘school streets’ with less traffic, lower pollution levels and a calmer environment for everyone.”

John Bynorth, Policy and Communications Officer at Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS) said: “Five is the age when most children go to school so 2021 is milestone for Clean Air Day – and time to focus further on the need to ensure air quality remains good to protect our children’s health.

National Clean Air Day kicked off in June 2017 and is delivered by Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS) on behalf of the Scottish Government.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.