THE environment has been high on the agenda of pupils at St Mary's RC Primary School in Radcliffe.

Children became so concerned about the planet that they contacted the former Prime Minister, Theresa May, as well as Sir David Attenborough, environment secretary Michael Gove and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Since September, pupils have been busy litter picking, cutting back on single-use plastic, speaking to local businesses, recycling and reducing waste, being part of Forest Schools and creating green areas within the school.

Year 6 teacher Katie Dunne said: “Neither I nor the children could have imagined how big our project would become. The children have pricked the conscience of lots of important people this year and have realised how powerful their young voices are. It has been fantastic exposing them to experiences such as the Manchester Green Summit, debates at the town hall and now a visit from Andy Burnham with a challenge to become the first, plastic free school in the borough - it really has been amazing!"

Mr Burnham responded to their call for action by visiting the Year 6 pupils last month to take part in a question and answer session and litter pick.

He was joined by the Mayor of Bury, Cllr Trevor Holt, Dave Brown, interim director of operations, and Talat Afzal, recycling and sustainability officer, at Bury Council.

Mr Burnham said: "To see young people, whose lives will be affected most if we don’t tackle climate change, taking the responsibility to make changes and support our city-region’s drive towards carbon neutrality is fantastic.

“Greater Manchester has an ambitious aim to become the UK’s leading green-city region and we recently set our plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2038 — well ahead of the national target."

Cllr Alan Quinn, Bury Council's cabinet member for the environment, added: “We need to take urgent action to protect our planet for our children and their children.

"To see our young people getting the message at such an early age inspires confidence that we can all make the difference that is needed. The council has declared a climate emergency, in part prompted by children who have voiced their concerns, and we are determined to act.”