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School to get to grips with air pollution

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Youngsters at a primary school will be the first in the borough to try and get to grips with local air pollution - by using new mobile sensors to find out how dirty the air is around them.

Northfield Road Primary School, in Netherton, has signed up to try out the new technology with pupils.

The school is just a stone’s throw from Halesowen Road, which in a recent Friends of the Earth report was identified as being one of the areas with the most polluted air in the UK.

The mobile sensors are one of a number of initiatives planned by council bosses as they wage war on air pollution in Netherton and the wider borough.

They will allow pupils and staff at the school to record the levels of air pollution in the atmosphere around the school. Youngsters will then be invited to come up with ways of reducing it – such as by walking to school – and will then monitor over a period of time to see if the levels have reduced.

Councillor Cathy Bayton, cabinet member for health, with Northfield Road Primary School pupils Gracie-May Wood and Zidan Thomas, and acting headteacher Mrs Nicky Bennett

The sensors will be available to all schools in the borough.

Councillor Cathy Bayton, cabinet member for health and adult social care, said:

Dudley Council is committed to improving the quality of the air that we all breathe in the borough, and especially in areas such as schools where there are large concentrations of children.
We have invested in these new sensors to help children, teachers and parents understand how they can contribute to improving air quality in the vicinity of the borough’s schools.
Each and every one of us has a responsibility to do our best to reduce car use, turn engines off while stationary, ride a bike or walk where possible and utilise public transport – especially looking forward to the improvements in buses and the tram network in the future.
The issue is not simply about pollution in the air, it’s about the health and wellbeing of our community, especially the children.”

Mrs Nicky Bennett, acting headteacher at Northfield Road Primary School, said:

Northfield Road Primary is excited to be part of this necessary and worthwhile project.
Reducing pollution will benefit the whole community.
We are looking forward to introducing measures to reduce emission in innovative ways, using the children’s ideas and enthusiasm.
We hope to engage the local community, with everyone embracing this important issue together to make a difference.”

Council leader Qadar Zada, also a ward councillor in Netherton, has ordered a root and branch review by officers to identify what can be done to make the air cleaner for residents in Netherton as soon as possible.

As part of the proposals, the junction of Halesowen Road and Northfield Road will be reviewed to see what can be done to improve traffic flow.

Council bosses will liaise with bus operators around the possibility of relocating bus stops to keep vehicles moving, while buses travelling on the road could also be retro-fitted to make them more environmentally friendly.

Traffic signals, right turns and pedestrian crossing will also be analysed to see the impact they are having on vehicle flow and air pollution.

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