PARENTS of children in Broomhill are being urged to cut down on car journeys to and from school to reduce the area’s high air pollution rate.
Community group Broomhill Forum has printed 10,000 letters which are being distributed to all schools in the area once pupils return from the half-term break on Monday, February 25.
Howard Fry, forum secretary, said the leaflets will alert parents of all pupils in the neighbourhood to the health risks of air pollution, reminding them that unnecessary car journeys are a contributing factor.
He said the messages formed part of the second phase of the group’s air quality campaign, following a successful symposium last year.
“We are trying to encourage children to walk to school or catch the bus, rather than coming by car. If parents absolutely must bring and collect their children by car - sometimes there is no alternative - we are asking that they do not idle their engines while waiting,” said Mr Fry.
“Motor vehicles are, by a wide margin, the main cause of air pollution and contrary to popular opinion, modern fuel-efficient vehicles do not solve the problem, because our lungs and blood easily absorb the very fine particulates in their emissions.
“The council is already trying to reduce air pollution, but effective and lasting solutions are in the hands of individual citizens. We all need to try to use cars less often and catch the bus, or better still, walk or cycle for short journeys.
“As we say in our letter, air pollution is an unseen killer and it causes greater mortality in the UK than road traffic accidents.”
The leaflet also urges parents not to use their cars for short journeys of less than three kilometres, as a cold engine emits more pollutants than a warm one running efficiently.
Broomhill, which suffers from traffic congestion, is one of several Sheffield neighbourhoods where vehicle exhaust toxins exceed European Union permitted levels.
Nitrogen oxide levels in Broomhill are more than one- third above the limit.