SCHOOLS around Winchester marked National Clean Air Day on Thursday with the results of scientific experiments into air quality.

Students aged between six and 18 have completed investigations with diffusion tubes to measure level of nitrogen dioxide around their school grounds and used the evidence to devise a plan to help reduce air pollution locally.

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for environment and transport at Hampshire County Council and deputy leader of Winchester City Council said: “As well the work carried out by local authorities I think we all have a role to play in helping reduce congestion which impacts on air quality. This project has been a great opportunity for young people to think about how small actions by individuals can make a big difference to a community.

“I’ve seen some great ideas today to reduce pollution and congestion in the city centre, including sixth form students posting selfies at the park and ride sites, secondary school poster projects, and competitions among primary school classes for the most children who scoot, cycle or walk to school.”

Primary school pupils from Oliver’s Battery, St Bede, Kings Worthy, St Peter’s Catholic, and secondary students from Kings’ and A-level students from Peter Symonds College took part in the eight-month project devised by the county council in collaboration with Winchester City Council.

Cllr Jan Warwick, portfolio holder for environment at the city council, said: “Winchester City Council is working hard to meet national air targets standards by 2020. The air quality project is is a great example of joint working between the county and the city to engage with the residents of tomorrow’s Winchester as they obviously have a vested interest in improving air quality for their and future generations."

The county and city councils continue to work together to address air quality issues largely caused by queuing traffic in the city.

A joint transport strategy between the two councils will address traffic in Winchester as more developments, such as Barton Farm, are built and traffic increases.

Cllr Humby added: “Leaving the car at home if you can and travelling under your own steam not only improves health and fitness but also helps reduce congestion and improve air quality. Within Winchester, where there is a designated Air Quality Management Area, the County Council has invested over £11million in the construction of park and ride sites, has an active programme of improving pedestrian and cycle routes to compliment the introduction of the city centre 20mph speed limit which makes cycling and walking more attractive in town, and has run a number of campaigns to encourage active travel.”

Since 2003, the percentage of children walking, cycling or scooting to school has grown and now over half of all Hampshire school children make their daily journey by foot, scooter or bike.