Parents who hang around before or after the school run could be hit with fines if new “no idling zones” to improve air quality are given the green light.
The idea will be put forward in a motion by Bury’s Liberal Democrat group at tonight’s council meeting.
The party wants to introduce the enforceable zones outside every school in the borough over the next two years, and trial at least four before the end of 2018.
And there is also a proposal to work with the NHS to look at extending them to medical centres and hospital pick-up areas.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Steve Wright said: “Many parts of Bury, particularly near to our main roads, busy junctions and our high number of motorways are areas of poor air quality and that pollutants in the air can exceed safe limits.
“Air pollution has a massive impact on people’s health with the young and most vulnerable most at risk. It is estimated that in Bury this equates to approximately 950 years of life lost per annum”.
Cllr Wright, added that the proposal was a “first step” to tackling poor air quality, and he hope it would receive cross-party support.
He said: “A simple action that can be taken is to make enforceable ‘no-idling zones’ outside all of our schools which would be a simple thing we can do to protect children’s lungs. As a second step we would also like to extend this to play areas and outside hospitals and health centres.”
However Cllr Alan Quinn, Labour’s environment chief, said that while he agreed with the principle of improving air quality, funding the zones would be a problem.
He said: “We haven’t got the resources for people to be turning up and fining people.
“Anything for clean air we will obviously look at, but we haven’t got the resources. We’re eight-and-a-half years into austerity and we still have to cope with more cuts.
“It’s nice enough motion, but where do we get the officers from? We’d support it, but we need more resources.”