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Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) students, Stagecoach, Festival Place and local councils are joining forces to encourage residents to become part of the solution when it comes to air pollution. Young clean air champions from BCoT are carrying out a pollution investigation at the Festival Place bus station. With support from Hampshire County Council's My Journey Hampshire campaign and Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the students have put up diffusion tubes to measure nitrogen dioxide around the bus station. Results are expected later this month (June). Hampshire County Councillor Michael Westbrook put representatives from BCoT in touch with My Journey Hampshire after realising they were working towards a common goal. The students held a no idling event on Tuesday 4 June at the bus station as part of Stagecoach Green Week, which this year is focused on fighting air pollution. Along with representatives from My Journey Hampshire, the borough council and Stagecoach, students hosted an information stand to highlight the importance of driving less and driving more efficiently.They handed out anti-idling car stickers, created by the borough council as part of its Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane campaign, to passers-by and spoke with drivers about the importance of them switching off their own engines. They also encouraged people to sign a pledge to stop idling in their cars and 98 people made a promise to switch off their engines while waiting during the two-hour event. Principal of Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT) Anthony Bravo said: “This project has been a fantastic opportunity for our science students to see the local impact of pollution for themselves and put the skills they’ve learnt on their course into practice. “It’s a great example of how partnership working can effect change and is just one of a number of ‘green’ activities we’re supporting in and around the college to help reduce the effects of climate change. “These include introducing our own electric van, switching to biodegradable cutlery in our Refectory and reducing the number of plastic bottles used for water”.
Operations Manager for Stagecoach South Jayson Smith said: “We’re so pleased to be involved in partnership to promote the benefits of sustainable travel, and to encourage people to consider greener methods of travel.
“It’s a cause which we are extremely passionate about as a business”
Cabinet Member for Environment and Enforcement at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “It’s wonderful to be working with so many others to help reduce air pollution. “People are really getting behind our Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane campaign and it’s great to see how passionate local students are about improving air quality.”Executive Member for Environment and Transport at Hampshire County Council Councillor Rob Humby said: “Together with the great work our My Journey team is doing to encourage people to walk when they can, and persuade drivers to switch off their engines when they’re stationary, our investment with Hampshire’s bus operators in contactless payment technology is helping buses reduce idling times as passengers can board much more quickly.
"This investment in contactless payments, on-board Wi-Fi and audio announcements is encouraging more people to try bus travel, reducing congestion on the roads and improving air quality in our communities.”
For more information about Clean Air Basingstoke and Deane, and to find out how you can help, visit basingstoke.gov.uk/clean-air.