SOLIHULL Council is offering air quality recording tubes to primary schools in the borough amid concerns of health risks caused by pollution.
New council leader Ian Courts has reiterated his commitment to combatting toxic air in the borough, although he says Solihull is within national limits.
He says he is working closely with businesses, schools and communities to improve air quality in densely populated areas.
Greens Councillor Max McLoughlin says that his party’s own recordings have shown there are some areas with a ‘significant risk to health’.
The council has monitored air quality over the past two years using 31 diffusion tubes strategically placed to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) across the borough.
Specialist monitors are also being used to measure particulate matter.
Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, council chiefs say, so all primary schools have recently been offered the opportunity to install diffusion tubes in their school grounds.
Council chiefs say the data collected is informing the future direction of its Clean Air Strategy 2019 to 2024.
Coun Courts said: “We are working closely with schools so that the air quality data can feed into their curriculum activities and also help us build a borough-wide picture.
“It is about our children’s future and looking after the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We also have a number of initiatives that will over time contribute to better air quality.
“These include the district energy network for Solihull town centre, which could bring affordable, low carbon heating to local buildings.
“While our £16.8million Wildlife Ways programme aims to connect wildlife sites and public open space.”
The council is also working with primary aged pupils to teach safe cycling skills, road awareness and road safety to encourage children to either bike or walk to school with friends and family.
Local businesses are being supported to develop travel plans that encourage the use of public transport or cycling and walking.
Coun McLoughlin said: “We’re pleased that our continued efforts to draw Solihull Conservative’s attention to this matter have yielded progress. However, it’s by no means ‘job done’.
“There are also locations where we’ve picked up readings of air pollution that present a significant risk to health.
“While the council has started measuring two forms of air pollution (NO2, PM), there are at least another three that we need to measure (including Ozone, O3 andSulfur Dioxide, SO2).
“This is a problem that is causing people to lose their lives, so we must take it with the degree of seriousness that deserves.”