Luton schools’ clean air campaign shuts street

Clean air campaign.
Clean air campaign.

There are calls for more traffic-free zones around schools, after the first temporary street closure in Luton came to a positive end.

Between June 10–21, Hillborough Road was transformed into a traffic-free space in mornings and afternoons with school eco warriors keen for the street closure to continue.

The action was the result of a team effort between Hillborough Infant and Junior schools, Luton Council’s Road Safety Team, Public Health, and walking and cycling charity, Sustrans.

Sustrans Schools Officer in Luton, Richard Noon said: “Traffic-free zones help to tackle poor air quality. With road transport being at the root of the problem, a shift towards cycling, walking and scooting must be part of the solution.

“Traffic-free zones at the school gates should be rolled out across the country as a priority for local and national government.”

Vehicle traffic is the key source of poor outdoor air quality in Luton producing harmful chemicals and gasses into the air.

These include CO2, a leading cause of global warming, nitrous oxides and particulates, which are particularly harmful to people’s health.

Poor air quality can exacerbate breathing problems in asthma sufferers, reduce lung function, and even cause lung cancer. However, the message from the campaign is that positive, small changes in our everyday lives, such as leaving the car at home, can improve the air people breathe and make them more active and healthier.

Councillor Rachel Hopkins, Luton Council portfolio holder for Public Health, said: “It has reminded us that active and green travel is possible and helps to tackle serious public health issues of our time, air pollution and obesity.”