INFANT and junior school pupils are doing their bit to spread the message about reducing air pollution.

Hatch Warren Junior and Infant Schools are joining forces with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Maria Miller MP to promote the Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane initiative.

Pupils have been provided with hundreds of car stickers, designed to encourage other drivers to switch off their engine while idling, which will be handed to parents and staff.

Cabinet member for regulatory services and the environment Councillor Hayley Eachus said: “Vehicles are the main source of air pollution, so I would encourage everyone to think about how you might be able to use your car less.

“But when you need to drive, please think about how you’re driving. Idling contributes to toxic emissions in the air we breathe both inside and outside your car.

“This is a particular issue outside schools, as we find that a lot of parents will leave their engine idling while waiting to collect their children.

“Simply switching your engine off and on again will help to reduce air pollution.”

Jaz Williams, Hatch Warren Infant School travel coordinator, said: “The school has worked hard at launching the ‘Park and Stride’ initiative that the children have embraced and enjoyed. This scheme encourages parents to travel actively to school by parking further away from the school and walking.

"By educating children at such a young age about air quality and the importance of lowering air pollution we are empowering them to have a better understanding and therefore a lasting impact on the environment that they live in.”

Joe Sandell, Hatch Warren Junior School travel coordinator, added: “The school council and Junior Road Safety Officers have been working really hard to promote clean air by encouraging families to travel to school actively.

"Throughout the school children have engaged with road safety activities and special assemblies have helped develop their understanding of how the actions that we take can affect our environment.”

Mrs Miller said: “We all need to take responsibility for protecting and improving our air quality in Basingstoke, and everyone can play their part in this.

“This is why I helped to launch the Clean Air Parents’ Network, with the British Lung Foundation, in Parliament last year, and why I recently visited another school air quality project session and the Breathe Easy health support group, to help raise awareness of air quality in our town.

“This is also why I am supporting the borough council’s Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane initiative. The car stickers are a great reminder to drivers to turn off their car engines when they are stationary, which really helps to reduce air pollution.”

For more information about Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane, go to