Reading to spend £327,000 creating interactive education programme about air pollution

We recently reported on the local authorities who were beneficiaries of DEFRA’s £11m fund to  support efforts to improve air pollution. At the time Environment Minster Rebecca Pow said: ‘From Tyneside to Cornwall, this funding will support a range of inspiring and innovative projects across the country.’

Many authorities are using the funding for air monitoring but Reading have decided to use it on aa educational initiative, to create an interactive education programme in primary and secondary schools to raise awareness about air quality.

boy in green sweater writing on white paper

The council will work in partnership with the University of Reading to engage with children and parents from at least 33 schools across the town to increase awareness and encourage change in behaviour.

The project will create key stage lesson plans, activity days and workshops; as part of programmes which will run for a full term. This might involve projects such as  children gathering data on air quality at home and outside the school.

The project has three aims: To improve the children’s understanding of air pollution, its causes and what can be done to prevent it and to increase awareness of air quality in the wider community and encourage behavioral changes in parents and other in the community.

Professor Hong Yang, project partner from the University of Reading, said: ‘Our aim is to raise the public’s awareness about the damaging effects of air pollution on children, parents and teachers’ health and inspire communities to make more effective changes that will result in cleaner air and a reduced carbon footprint in schools and the surrounding areas.’

Councillor Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Climate Strategy and Transport, said: ‘Securing this funding is great news for our schools and for helping to improve Reading’s environment. This will enable us to reach our younger generation and encourage them to be active and passionate ambassadors for the ways we can all help improve air quality.

‘We are fully committed to maintaining and improving air quality across the town as we work towards our ambition of a net-zero carbon Reading by 2030. This educational initiative forms part of our wider work to encourage behaviour change. We are already supporting four schools to run School Streets – this is another excellent example of an initiative helping promote safer walking and cycling – and we already work closely with our partners Sustrans to deliver workshops in schools promoting walking and cycling.’



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