A NEW campaign to create “no-idling” zones around Bradford’s schools will begin when children return to school after the Summer break.

Bradford Council is working with schools and local communities to improve air quality around schools by stopping motorists from waiting outside the school gates with their engines running.

In September there will be a big push to encourage people to change their ways - with the Council, schools and community groups highlighting the dangers of pumping pollution into the air outside schools.

The announcement was made yesterday, the day before the Council’s decision making Executive were due to meet to discuss ways to drastically improve air quality in the district.

Air pollution is linked to over 200 early deaths a year across Bradford and can cause asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, stroke and other respiratory diseases.

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Idling - or leaving vehicle engines running while stationary - emits harmful substances into the air and contributes to local air pollution levels.

Children are particularly vulnerable to the impact of air pollution as their lungs are still developing, but some of the worst idling spots are outside schools.

A number of schools in the district have already started their own no-idling campaigns.

Earlier this year Myrtle Park Primary School in Bingley teamed up with local neighbourhood police for such a scheme, with members of the school council working with local businesses to produce banners, leaflets and adverts promoting the campaign.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, portfolio holder for Healthy People and Places, said: “Exposure to high levels of air pollution can have a real impact on children’s health- including making conditions such as asthma worse.

“Every child matters in the Bradford District and we need to take action to improve the quality of the air our children breathe so they can lead a happier and healthier life now and in the future. We know that the most effective No Idling campaigns are done in partnership with schools and community groups, so we’ll be working with them over the summer to develop a campaign in time for the new school year.”

Action to prevent idling can be an effective way to reduce harmful air pollution in areas of traffic congestion - such as during school drop off and pick up times.

The campaign will help raise awareness of the harmful impact of idling on children’s health, as well as encouraging parents, carers, guardians and those that stop their vehicles outside of schools to turn off their car engines.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, portfolio holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: “Switching off your car’s engine when it’s stopped is a simple change that anyone can do to help improve air quality around schools and we hope that this campaign will inspire as many people as possible to make this change.”

Bradford Council is working closely with the Government’s Joint Air Quality Unit to develop a plan which assesses a range of interventions to outline the preferred option for achieving compliance with the EU limit value nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the shortest possible timeframe.

It comes after a report that found air quality in some areas of the district was at illegally high levels.

The Liberal Democrat group on Bradford Council has pushed for No Idling zones outside schools for some time, and most recently backed their party's Climate Change spokesperson Wera Hobhouse in their call for authorities to get tougher on Idling drivers.