Clean Air For Henley Launches Schools No Idling Campaign

There won’t be a single idle student in town after Clean Air For Henley’s latest initiative. Launched last week, the ‘No Idling’ schools campaign aims to educate local children on the town’s pollution problems. A group of passionate volunteers are inspiring Henley’s primary schools, spreading their valuable message about the impact of idling car engines.

Sacred Heart CoE Primary was the first school to receive a visit from the Henley ‘No Idlers’. The campaigning team were joined by special guest, Dr Paula Owen, who has been heavily involved in the London No Idling Campaign. Dr Owen took the children through an interactive session about the dangers of air pollution, underlining the impact that it can have on our everyday lives. Significantly, a number of students indicated that they had asthmatic symptoms, which are often caused by vehicle emissions (particularly diesel). David Dickie (an instrumental part of the Clean Air For Henley campaign) commented, “The children, especially Year 4, and the teachers were extremely helpful in increasing awareness of the health hazards from vehicles in the town.”

The campaign trail continued this week at Rupert House School. In the assembly on Monday (18 June), Henley No Idler, Patrick Fleming, gave an informative presentation about the importance of air quality. Children and teachers were shocked to learn that Rupert House is located in one of the most heavily polluted areas of town (Northfield End). Mr Fleming explained the biggest causes of air pollution both in and out of the home — car fumes, wood burners, and gas cookers used without an extractor fan. To improve our local environment, he encouraged children to ask parents to turn off their engines when stopped. He also suggested walking, cycling or scooting to school instead! Headteacher Mrs Lynas firmly agreed with his sentiments. “I know we think we’ll be late, but with a little bit of effort we could walk,” she said. “If you live far away, could you maybe walk part of the way?”

The ‘No Idling’ campaign visits feature more than just factual presentations. Both schools had great fun playing a game of ‘Snakes and Ladders’, cleverly adapted to highlight air quality issues. At the end of the day, they eagerly greeted their parents with ‘No Idling’ window stickers and leaflets, helping to spread the word about the hazards of air pollution. Thanks to the next generation, and the Clean Air For Henley initiative, the future of our air quality may well be looking up!

David Dickie expressed his gratitude to the many people who’ve been involved in the initiative so far. “Thanks to the schools for their accommodating attitude and the cheerful children,” he stated. “Thanks to Henley Town Council with supportive funding from the Transport Strategy Group, led by Stefan Gawrysiak, and thanks to the team of volunteers — the ‘No Idlers’ — for making it all possible: Diana Elms, Gerda Barraclough, Ramsay Adams, Patrick Fleming, Donna Crook, Gill Dodds and Dave McEwen.”

If you would like to support the No Idling campaign so that can print leaflets, stickers, purchase safety jackets etc. you can donate via https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/henley-in-transition