INCREASED air pollution in Bury is linked to school pick-ups and drop-offs, new data shows.

Air quality sensors, which have been provided by EarthSense and funded through the council’s climate change commitments, have shown that pollutant concentrations are spiking throughout the day as traffic on the surrounding roads increases, especially around drop-off and pick-up times.

This means that children at Bury’s schools are regularly being exposed to poor quality air when arriving at and leaving school.

The sensors have been in place outside three primary schools in the town – Chesham, Christ Church Ainsworth and Lowercroft primaries, since last October, and were originally placed there in order to help educate students about the environment.

The authority will work with the schools to incorporate air quality, climate change and wider environmental science into the curriculum.

The sensor outside Chesham will remain in place, while the remaining two will be transferred to sites outside Woodbank and St Mary’s primary schools to collate further data.

Cllr Kevin Peel, deputy cabinet member for the environment, said: “Thousands of people in the UK die every year due to poor air quality, and many more suffer ill health or develop lung conditions such as asthma because of air pollution. Young people are particularly susceptible to being affected by poor air.

“The results of air monitoring at these schools show that emissions tend to rise in the morning, drop off after the rush hour and then peak in the afternoon/early evening.

“While the school run isn’t the only factor in pollution near schools, we need to raise awareness of the issues and persuade parents, where they can, to leave the car at home and encourage their children to walk, cycle or take public transport to school.”

Funding was recently secured from Transport for Greater Manchester to develop proposals for 'School Streets' outside a number of schools in the borough, including Chesham Primary. The developments will encourage parents to leave cars at home or park away from the school.

Local residents and parents at each school will be consulted on the proposals in the coming months.