STUDENTS from Winchester have won a county-wide air quality competition.

Environmental Science students from Peter Symonds College won the ‘Best Campaign Plan to Improve Air Quality’ competition, as part of Hampshire County Council's My Journey campaign.

The initiative encourages nurseries, schools and colleges to consider the health impacts of their travel choices.

In February, the European Commission stated that the UK has two months to address "persistent breaches" of air pollutants - specifically nitrogen dioxide.

With this in mind, Peter Symonds students wanted to do their part to reduce the problem.

The winning proposal opened with: “The effects attributed to air pollution are not only of environmental concern but pose a growing public health problem, with around 40,000 deaths as result of exposure to outdoor air pollution. The effects are inescapable for each one of us every time we take a breath.”

It included recommendations for students to formulate an Air Quality Control Committee, present the competition findings to all Peter Symonds students to raise awareness of the problem and motivate change in staff lifestyles and behaviour by conducting an air quality awareness day.

Tilly Bray and Michael Stuckey, from the winning team, said: “We at Peter Symonds College are ideally placed to make a difference, with over 4000 students taken from a vast catchment area. This provides us not only with a huge problem to do with transport but also a melting pot of creativity from which to draw locally appropriated solutions.”

Students have already started their campus-wide air quality campaign of which they are hoping to see a change in the college’s impact on air quality in the coming months.

They end their proposal by saying: “We aim for this year’s proposal to be a platform for next year’s budding pioneers of air quality control.”