CHILDREN in East Renfrewshire are taking part in an innovative project to highlight the impact traffic congestion at schools has on air quality.

Seven primary schools across Barrhead and Newton Mearns have signed up for the initiative, which sees pupils use air monitors to take measurements of nitrogen dioxide levels during drop-off and pick-up times.

East Renfrewshire Council’s environmental health team is also attending assemblies to highlight the effect engine idling, poor parking, congestion and general traffic is having on local air quality around the school gates.

And an air quality banner contest is being run in each of the schools, with the winning designs to be displayed outside classrooms to encourage pupils and parents to think about air quality and how it can be improved.

The first school to complete the air quality project is St Clare’s Primary, in Newton Mearns, and the winners of their banner competition were announced at a special assembly on Friday.

Councillor Alan Lafferty, East Renfrewshire’s environment convener, said: “This is a fantastic project which will educate pupils about the impact cars can have on the environment.

“It is important that we all consider what steps we can take to improve air quality around our schools, now and for generations to come.

“I was delighted to be at St Clare’s to hear about the time and effort the pupils have spent learning about this project. Their commitment to help reduce pollution and congestion within their area is amazing and I’m confident these wonderfully illustrated banners will help make that change.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what’s produced at the remaining schools as part of this project.”

The other schools taking part in the initiative are Cross Arthurlie Primary, Mearns Primary, St Mark’s Primary, Kirkhill Primary, St Cadoc’s Primary and Carlibar Primary.