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Showing we care about clean air

Showing we care about clean air
04 September 2023

As youngsters get set for their return to school, we are issuing a reminder to motorists that leaving an engine idling while parked up is not acceptable.

Our environmental health team is refreshing the Care for Clean Air campaign to encourage motorists not to leave their engine idling whilst their vehicle is stationary. While the initial campaign mainly targeted schools, the team wants to extend the message to the general public and make everyone think about how their actions can influence local air quality.

Leaving an engine idling whilst parked up concentrates emissions from the engine and can lead to poor localised air quality. It is estimated that an idling car causes enough emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful pollutants every minute.

Children especially can be more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution by breathing in the particles emitted and, in some cases, these can be linked to conditions such as asthma and respiratory infections.

Children breathe more rapidly than adults so absorb more pollutants. They also breathe closer to the ground and the level of a vehicle exhaust; this is also true for very young children in buggies and prams.

The team has provided schools with information, and it is hoped the refresh of the Care for Clean Air campaign will remind and encourage parents to switch off their engines, as well as the general public. Social media messages and other marketing tools will be used to help drive home this important message to prevent air pollution and protect health.

Chris McEwan, cabinet member for economy including climate change and environmental health, said: “With the start of the autumn term, what better time than now to remind parents and carers about the harm that can be caused by engine emissions especially to young children and those who are vulnerable.

“As well as the health cost there is a financial and climate cost to engine idling. Leaving an engine running for even 10 seconds uses more fuel and creates more pollution than restarting your engine. It’s not difficult, please switch off your engine when your car is idling – not just outside of schools but wherever you are on your journey.

“Better still, try and walk or cycle for shorter journeys, your health and finances will thank you and our air.”

Personalised help and advice on how to travel car free and more sustainably is available from the our travel advisors by emailing [email protected]

This work will contribute to our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2040. This pledge covers all service areas, and we aim to encourage residents and businesses to join us on the journey towards a greener and more sustainable future. More details are available on our website.


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