Keith visits St Bede School, Winchester to show support for pupils’ work on air pollution

15 July 2011 – Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for Hampshire and the South East, will visit St Bede School, Winchester today, Friday 15 July, to give his support to work done by pupils to draw attention to high levels of air pollution around their school. Keith will be meeting with pupils who have been measuring the air pollution levels and hearing about their plans to improve the air quality around their school.

Earlier in the day he will be launching his air pollution campaign in Southampton and distributing a public information leaflet, ‘Air Pollution: The Invisible Killer’ (2), which he has produced to raise awareness of air pollution and its damaging health impacts. The leaflet explains how air pollution is created, how widespread the problem is across the South East region, how it affects our health and how pollution can be reduced. Keith will also be calling on local people to write to cllr Ken Thornber, the Leader of Hampshire County Council, to ask him to do more to tackle this invisible public health crisis.

Winchester was declared an ‘Air Quality Management Area’ in 2003 because it is falling short of the government approved level for two pollutants – Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10) in certain areas of the city. St Bede School pupils decided to do their own study in the school and have been measuring levels of the harmful pollutant, Nitrogen Dioxide.

Keith said: ‘It’s fantastic that pupils at St Bede Primary School have been measuring air pollution and are taking action to reduce the high levels of pollution which they’ve found. Air pollution is an invisible killer, responsible for 29,000 deaths in the UK each year.

“I’m delighted to be taking my campaign, which aims to raise awareness of this issue, to St Bede Primary School this week. I’m hoping that I can learn about the work they’ve been doing and encourage other schools across my constituency to take similar action to tackle this worrying problem. Air pollution is creating a major invisible public health crisis and so it’s very important that people of all ages are more aware of the health impacts and what they can do to clean up the air we all breathe.”

St Bede Primary School eco-team leader Jayne Player said: “St Bede’s Eco Team consisting of children of all ages has been working with Winchester City Council to monitor the quality of the air surrounding the school. Our project has unfortunately found that air quality nearby contains high levels of nitrogen dioxide, which is pollution caused by traffic fumes and has a negative impact on people’s health.

“This is a concern both for teachers and children alike and as a result the children have been exploring ways to encourage families to change their mode of travel to positively influence attitudes to sustainable transport and to help reduce the level of pollution.”

Earlier in the day Keith will be meeting Simon Hartill, Scientific Officer at Southampton City Council and launching his report at a pollution hotspot, Queen’s Park, with members of Southampton Cycling Campaign.

Over the following week Keith will be taking his campaign to Hampshire’s ‘Little Green Gathering’, Oxford, Reading, Maidstone, Canterbury, Redhill and Hove.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. Photo opportunity: Friday 15 July, 3:00PM at St Bede Primary School, Gordon Road, Winchester, SO23 7DD

2. Air Pollution: The Invisible Killer can be downloaded at http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/air-pollution/