As part of its plans to improve air quality in Barking and Dagenham, the east London council is encouraging drivers to turn their engines off while their car is stationary.
Called Idling, it means leaving vehicle engines on while sitting outside of a shop, at a friend’s house or just sitting in back-to-back traffic or at traffic lights, as this massively affects air pollution and ultimately people’s health.
Last month, Councillors signed off the council’s Air Quality Action Plan which outlines the actions the council will take to make air quality better between 2020-2025, with one action being to specifically implement anti-idling campaigns and projects in Barking and Dagenham.
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, more people will be out and about using their cars, seeing friends and going to entertainment venues, such as pubs and cinemas, so air pollution is likely to increase over the coming months.
Earlier this year the Mayor of London funded a campaign called ‘Engine Off, Every Stop’ that encouraged drivers to turn their engines off every time they stopped in the car. The campaign highlighted air pollution as an invisible killer and a dangerous daily reality for many Londoners.
Idling vehicles emit pollutants including nitrogen dioxide which is linked to asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and cancer.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “The quality of air in Barking and Dagenham is not great and is having a significant impact on the health of residents, commuters and people who visit Barking and Dagenham.
“Leaving engines on while you’re sat still in a car is just not necessary and is threatening the health of anyone nearby, so I am urging all drivers to turn their engines off when they’re not needed.
Over the next year, the council will be taking part in a number of awareness days to encourage people to think about cleaner air, such as Clean Air Day and World Car Free Day.