A CAMPAIGN encouraging parents on the school run to turn off their car engines when stationary has been launched.

One of the most common places for cars to be left idling is outside school gates and it means that the most vulnerable in our community are being exposed to pollutants.

Air pollution contributes to 1,200 early deaths in Greater Manchester each year with more than 100 of those linked to the borough.

As part of a new campaign, Wigan Council is asking schools to take an active part and send in posters from pupils which outline why engines should be turned off in the vicinity of schools.

Winning entries from across the borough will then be put forward for design and onto lampposts around schools which remind parents about the dangers.

It is hoped that the polite reminder to drivers will mean the air we breathe becomes cleaner.

Wigan Council’s cabinet member for environment, Carl Sweeney, said: “Air pollution is something that affects all of us, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that it’s not having an impact of our health.

“By taking simple steps such as switching off your engine when possible, we can all help improve the air quality for everyone.

“We hope by highlighting this important issue that residents will support us and turn off their engines or even seek alternative greener forms of travel.”

Motorists can make some simple changes to improve air quality by switching to cycling or walking for more of the local trips.

But if driving is necessary then parents can still decide to park five minutes away from the school and complete the journey on foot.

Environmental officers at the local authority can help schools co-ordinate this by marking out walking zones which tell parents when they are within five minutes.

Not only does a five-minute walk zone keep the areas around schools safe for children but it means parents are not wasting time looking for a parking space and means children start the day with a little exercise.

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The launch of the campaign follows the Deal 2030 Big Listening Project where residents were clear on how important cleaner streets and open spaces were.

Entries are open until 5pm on November 29 and must be designed by hand.

Scanned copies can be sent to comm@wigan.gov.uk but people must keep a copy of the original.

When submitting your entry include the name of your school, the pupil’s name, age and a contact number.

For more information click here, where you can find curriculum-linked lesson plans and resources with the latest scientific understanding and campaign tools.