School pupils back campaign urging parents to turn off engines

(L-R) Emile Zubkute, Victoria Spashett, Robert Clack Lower staff member Ellen Monk and Angel Omoregie

(L-R) Emile Zubkute, Victoria Spashett, Robert Clack Lower staff member Ellen Monk and Angel Omoregie - Credit: Andrew Baker

Pupils are encouraging motorists to turn off their engines when dropping children off at school as part of an environmental campaign.

Robert Clack Lower School and Grafton School are supporting the Parkwise Pledge, which aims to encourage parents to turn off idling engines, be considerate about where and how they park and to make one trip on foot or by bike each week.

Alice Carroll, deputy head at Grafton School, said: “It would be fantastic if all of our pupils and staff could walk or cycle to school, but we know for some it is necessary to come by car.

"For these families, we are asking them to make the Parkwise Pledge. We hope it will create a safer, more pleasant environment for our pupils, their families, neighbouring residents and all other road users.”

Pupils at Robert Clack Lower School also participated in a street design workshop.

This involved learning about different design models, observing collection time at their school and discussing possible ways forward.

They also took part in a consultation on proposed changes to Tenterden Road, one of a number of road safety schemes that received a total of £600,000 from Transport for London last year.

Pupil Emile Zubkute said: “It's nice to see people working hard to make the school a safe place to be and an enjoyable environment."

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Year 8 classmate Angel Omoregie added: "The workshop was interesting because we could go out and speak to students coming out of school and ask them about their experience of traffic in the local area.

"The workshop was good because it explained everything and how the area will be improved."

The Parkwise Pledge scheme is part of the Greening the Fiddlers, Becontree Heath Low Emission Neighbourhood.

The project aims to make the neighbourhood around the Fiddlers junction safer and greener.

It has been backed by the Mayor of London's Air Quality Fund and is being run in partnership with Barking and Dagenham Council and the authority's development arm Be First.

Victoria Spashett, Be First's project manager for the low emission neighbourhood, said: “Around 150 balloons worth of polluting gases are churned out a minute by idling engines.

"Our message to drivers is simple - cut out the smoke, it makes us choke.”