Volunteers ask drivers to switch off for air quality

Release Date: 09 February 2018

Dozens of volunteers turned out in East Sheen to ask drivers to switch off their engines whilst they’re stopped at level crossings and when waiting to collect children from school. This was to raise awareness of the effects idling cars can have on air quality in the borough.

Funded by the Mayor of London, this is the first of three events being run as part of the Idling Action campaign in London. As part of the campaign, volunteers will work with the Council and local schools to engage drivers and passers-by about pollution caused by idling cars, particularly when parents are doing the school run.

Volunteers in East Sheen spoke to the drivers of 184 vehicles, of which 166 were idling, 94 per cent of whom switched off after being spoken to, and 18 were not idling.

Cllr Pamela Fleming, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment said:

“Action Days like this are proven to be very effective, with previous days around London seeing over 80% of drivers switch off when asked by the volunteers and most pledge to give up idling for good.

“It’s fantastic to see so many volunteers turning out to educate drivers about the serious risk air pollution poses to the health of our residents and encourage them to play their part by switching off their engines when they’re not moving.

“The Council is committed to improving air quality across the borough but we can’t do it on our own, everyone needs to play their part. I hope drivers learn from the campaign and change their practices.”

Cllr Stephen Speak, Cabinet Member for Finance and Performance attended and said:

“It was a very successful event with most drivers willing to comply and also interested in the issues the volunteers raised with them. Although NO2 is tasteless and odourless it was obvious from observing the tailpipe vapours on a cold day that local air quality was immediately improved. 

“A further benefit that we hadn’t expected was just how much quieter the whole area became and so anti-idling is better for noise pollution too.”

Volunteers are still being sought for Action Days in Richmond on 21 February 2018 and Hampton on 7 March 2018. If you are interested in volunteering email: carol.lee@richmond.gov.uk. For more information about Idling Action visit idlingaction.london.

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contactLyle Skipseyon 020 8487 5182.  

Reference: P069/18

Updated: 23 February 2018