Schoolchildren remind motorists not to idle
28 Nov 2022
A campaign run in partnership with West Suffolk Council and local schools, is reminding motorists to turn off their engines when they are stationary to cut harmful toxic emissions from vehicles.
Idling is when a driver is parked with their engine running. Where it happens outside schools, it exposes children to excessive toxic fumes. Long term exposure can cause asthma in children and stunt their lung growth, which can impact on their health for the rest of their lives.
West Suffolk Council has a statutory duty to monitor air quality across the district and although the air quality is generally good the council is committed to improving this further. It is working with school on education events and by installing monitoring equipment outside.
Moulton CEVC Primary School is one school using a big banner at the school gate to get their message to drivers. Headteacher Mrs Deborah Shipp, said,
"We are preparing our pupils to look after themselves and one another and our parents are very supportive. We enjoy sharing the new things we learn and showing how we understand by doing things differently. The car is a necessity for busy families doing school drop offs, but at this time of year the temptation to keep warm with the engine running is strong. We are sharing the message about not idling so as to save carbon emissions and protect young lungs."
Cllr Andy Drummond, Cabinet member for Planning and Regulatory at West Suffolk Council, which measures air quality, said,
"As we’ve been hearing from COP27, we all have a responsibility to tackle climate change. New research shows that UK motorists idle for an average of 244 minutes every winter, collectively producing a massive 107,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), that’s almost the same carbon emissions as every resident in West Suffolk flying to the World Cap in Qatar and back.
"The simple act of putting banners up helps remind people on a daily basis and improves the overall attitude. Young lungs are particularly liable to damage from vehicle emissions, so schools are great starting places for this awareness work. The youngsters help to change behaviour with their families and friends and I congratulate the school community for working together to tackle idling."
The work that West Suffolk started doing two years ago with schools has been rolled out nationally. Cool World Consulting developed the work into Cleaner Air Sooner, which has been backed with funding from the international philanthropic organisation, the Clean Air Fund.