by samalhamdani on 8 November, 2019
At Oldham Council on Wednesday night, I seconded a motion to introduce idling free zones outside schools and other crucial areas. There are some simple steps that can be taken to protect our children from air pollution, such as introducing public space protection orders.
The Labour Party majority sent the motion to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the Council, but I believe it is crucial that we start taking measures such as this to ensure children are given the best protection that we can from pollution. Here is my speech to the Council.
At the start of this year, Public Health England said that between 28,000 and 36,000 deaths a year in the UK could be attributed to long-term exposure to air pollution. Air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK. Leaving our schools surrounded by cars with their engines turned on is a mistake, and it is letting our children down. We can’t afford to wait.
Now, we know we need to redesign our towns, and ensure that our schools are designed in a way that minimises traffic to them. But, to name an area in my ward, on Medlock Way, we have two schools back to back – Hey with Zion and St Edwards. They’re on a cul-de-sac, and there are constant problems with sitting traffic. I’m sure that every member in this chamber could point to somewhere in their wards where there is a similar problem. But it is going to be years before we have the chance to redesign where those schools are. We can’t afford to wait.
The Greater Manchester Framework talks about controlling traffic and parking within and around schools and early years sites. We don’t know when we’re going to see the finalised version of the framework, but we do know that this isn’t going to go away. We can’t afford to wait.
Oldham could be leading the way – and Oldham should be leading the way. This doesn’t require technology that needs to be developed. This doesn’t require something complex. It requires us to engage with our communities, to show them that if we take action together, as a council and as parents, we can make a difference for all our children.
If you’re collecting your children from school, you might have to wait. But on this, we don’t have to.Leave a comment