Schoolchildren transform underpass into art gallery to mark Clean Air Day

Underpass near fairlands

Students from St Vincent de Paul School with Cllr Phil Bibby - Clean Air Day 2021 - Credit: Herts County Council

Stevenage schoolchildren displayed their artwork showcasing local wildlife in one of the town's underpasses, to remind residents of the benefits of reducing their environmental impact.

Marking Clean Air Day yesterday (June 17), the display was unveiled by teachers and pupils from Bedwell Primary School and St Vincent de Paul Catholic School. 

Bedwell pupils in underpass galery

Pupils from Bedwell School mark Clean Air Day 2021 - Credit: Herts County Council

Herts County Councillor Phil Bibby also visited the subway, which features wildlife photographs from photographer Steve Lane.

The underpass has been transformed as part of a programme of works to brighten and improve pedestrian subways across Hertfordshire, to encourage residents to engage in active greener travel such as walking and cycling.

St Vincent de Paul School artwork

Close-up of artwork created by St Vincent de Paul School pupils - Credit: Herts County Council

Located close to Fairlands Valley Park, the walkway forms part of the wider network of off-road routes suitable for walking and cycling in Stevenage.

Close-up of artwork created by Bedwell School pupils - Clean Air Day 2021

Bedwell Primary School pupils artwork displayed in underpass near Fairlands Valley Park in Stevenage - Credit: Herts County Council


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Phil Bibby, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "National Clean Air Day is a good opportunity to remind everyone how making more journeys on foot or bike, and reducing the number of car journeys, does help to improve air quality and as a result, improve people’s wellbeing.

"There are proven direct benefits to physical and mental health of being more active every day, which is why we’re working hard to make walking and cycling safe and attractive options through schemes like this.”

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Clean Air Day is an annual event led by charity Global Action Plan to improve public understanding of air pollution, including the health effects, as well as how they can make a difference.

County councillor Sharon Taylor, who contributed to the cost of the improvements from her Highway Locality Budget, added: “Working with young people on this project was an important factor in deciding to use my highways locality budget to support this project.

"We want to encourage more walking, especially for those shorter journeys."

Since Herts County Council declared a climate emergency in 2019, it has been working to tackle it, including by helping to improve air quality across the county. 

For more details of work to improve walking and cycling routes across the county, see the Local Transport Plan at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/ltp.

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