The role of schools in local air quality
Most people will have noticed the difference in the amount of traffic on the roads at rush hour during term time as compared to the school holidays.
Generally, there seems to be less traffic on the roads at rush hour during the school holidays and journey times are noticeably shorter due to the absence of school run traffic. This observation is common throughout the UK and 20 per cent of people in Britain think cars on the school run should be banned from roads in the rush hour (Source: MORI 2005).
Did you know that 29 per cent of children travel to school by car, when the average distance to primary school is only 1.4 miles and only 2.9 miles for secondary schools? It would only take approximately half an hour to walk 1.4 miles. Next time you drive to school at rush hour, check how long it takes – you may be surprised to find that, due to traffic, your journey may not be as quick as you thought.
Here are some ideas on how you could do your bit.
- Why not start by leaving the car at home one day a week? A walk or cycle to school is not only good for your health and that of your children, but it will save on fuel costs and help reduce local air pollution. There are Travel Smart campaigns run by Derbyshire County Council.
- You may have friends, family or neighbours who also drive their children to the same school or one nearby. Why not take turns to drive or walk the children to school? If you don't know anyone who lives near you, why not check whether your school has a travel plan? If your child’s school is too far to walk, check on Derbyshire County Council's website for details on schools buses or even register with a car share scheme.
- If you arrive at school a little early, don't sit in your car with the engine idling and/or your air conditioning running continuously – switch your engine off; you'll save fuel, money and local air pollution!
Derbyshire County Council has a comprehensive website regarding school transport which provides all the options available to you and your child for travelling between school or college and home.