PARENTS and pupils in a Sheffield suburb are being urged to do their bit to help improve air quality – by cutting down on school-run car journeys.
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, from Monday, February 25.
Broomhill is one of Sheffield’s most-polluted suburbs and the forum, which represents residents and businesses, wants to encourage children to walk to school or catch the bus.
Howard Fry, forum secretary, said: “Pollution is an unseen killer, causing greater mortality in the UK than road traffic accidents and nearly as much as smoking.
“Sheffield’s chief medical officer, Dr Jeremy Wight, has estimated that each year the health cost of air pollution in Sheffield alone is £160 million and is the cause of at least 500 premature deaths.
“As a parent and the husband of a teacher, I know that local schools already try hard to reduce the danger of cars waiting outside the school gates.
“We also want to try to persuade them not to idle their engines if they insist on waiting or, better still, to try not to use their cars at all for short journeys and to encourage children to walk, cycle where appropriate or catch a bus.”
Mr Fry said the forum has written to headteachers of schools around the area asking for help to distribute the letters and received a ‘very supportive’ response.
The forum is funding the letter out of a grant from Sheffield Council’s central community assembly to help reduce air pollution.
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.