Over the previous few months, the quality of the air we breathe – or lack thereof – has begun to receive some much-needed attention. This is due to a range of factors, including the work of activists such as Greta Thunberg and the Extinction Rebellon, as well as the renewed focus on environmental awareness throughout society these influencers have created.
Naturally, a great deal of the headlines around environmentalism and clean air have been focused around London, with research from the British Heart Foundation having revealed that breathing the air in certain boroughs of the city is the equivalent of smoking more than 150 cigarettes across a lifetime. However this issue is by no means limited to the capital, with 63 local authorities across England and Wales having been ordered to tackle illegally high levels of air pollution.
A particularly notable example of this, which was recently singled out for specific attention, was Greater Manchester when, earlier this month, it was revealed that Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) had missed its deadline to submit plans to tackle air pollution in the region.
While there are naturally a great many reasons for this setback, such as uncertainties around funding and Governmental issues, all this means is those who live in the region having to spend longer breathing in dirty, polluted air – and the laundry list of health problems this can cause, such as increased risks of strokes, heart disease and even premature death.
Frustratingly, other solutions to the dirty air crisis, such as following the lead of other major metropolitan cities and implementing a Clean Air Zone, have also faced setbacks at the same time, meaning that we must look to alternative ways to improve the quality of the air we breathe.
While cleaning up Manchester’s transport is likely to be a recurrent solution put forth, one area that is unfortunately unlikely to feature in many proposals is the school run; specifically, the ways in which clunky, unfit-for-purpose home-to-school transport solutions damage the quality of the air we and our children breathe.
As it stands, road transport is responsible for around a third of the UK’s toxic emissions and, even more concerningly, the school run is currently a major contributor to the rush-hour traffic causing these emissions. Indeed, as many as one in four cars on the roads during rush hour are parents transporting their children to and from school.
By bringing the school run into the 21st century and making shared school transport the safer, greener option for schools, parents and pupils, we’re making it clear that it doesn’t have to be this way.
Solving the issues associated with the school run, such as a lack of transparency, pupil safeguarding and poor route-planning, in turn takes as many as 31 cars off the road per shared 49-seater school bus. Not only does this greatly ease congestion – both on the roads and at the school gates each day – taking cars off the roads substantially reduces the spread of toxic emissions being released into the atmosphere, poisoning the air we breathe. Crucially, unlike other solutions such as Clean Air Zones, this can be achieved without protracted, costly government intervention.
We have everything in place to kickstart the revolution – now we just need your support; schools, parents and innovators all pulling in the same direction to create a cleaner, greener future for all. Are you a concerned parent or citizen living in Greater Manchester, or thinking about moving there in future? Let’s work together and do our bit to make the regions’ air safer to breathe. Curious? Get in touch and let’s have a chat.