London authorities join forces in new anti-idling campaign

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30 London authorities has joined forces with the City of London Corporation and signed up to the #EnginesOff campaign, which asks businesses to pledge that their drivers and other employees will not leave their engines on when parked.

The #EnginesOff campaign, run by the Idling Action Project, seeks to educate on and change behaviours around car idling, where motorists leave their engines running while parked, in order to reduce air pollution.

Keith Bottomley, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environmental Services Committee, commented on the new scheme: “64,000 people die prematurely every year in the UK from breathing polluted air.

“Switching off the engine when your vehicle is parked is more important now than ever before.

“As we learn more about the harmful effects of COVID-19 on the lungs, we are making a particular plea to London’s businesses to play their part in ridding the capital of toxic air and saving lives.”

The campaign comes amidst emerging evidence that air pollution is linked to poor recovery and higher infection rates of COVID-19 due to damage caused to the lungs.

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: “City Hall is happy to support this important pan-London campaign to tackle engine idling.

“Through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, we have helped businesses to cut air pollution through Business Low Emission Neighbourhoods and other local schemes, reducing pollution, supporting cleaner vehicles and greener forms of transport.

“Encouraging businesses to take the #EnginesOff pledge will build on this.

“As London recovers from COVID-19, it’s vital that businesses and other drivers in the capital consider the health of others and take this a simple but vital step towards cutting air pollution.”

Islington Council is one of the participating council, and as a part of this its fleets will be taking the #EnginesOff pledge and their drivers will receive training.

In 2014, Islington became the first London borough to enforce an anti-idling policy, informing and educating drivers about the advantages of switching off their engines and the effect it has on people’s health.

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, commented on the scheme: “Air pollution is a major health emergency affecting people in Islington and across London.

“Islington Council has already taken major steps to clean the air that local people breathe, by pledging to implement a further 26 School Streets before the end of year, moving forward with electrifying our fleet, and by becoming the first council in the UK to collect and publish air quality data outside primary and secondary schools.

“As we move out of lockdown, it’s more important than ever that we clean our air to support those with breathing difficulties, which is one of the reasons why we are creating people-friendly streets to make it easier to walk, cycle, scoot and use buggies and wheelchairs.

“Initiatives like the Idling Action Project help to educate drivers about the dangers caused by idling engines, which pollute the air and have negative health consequences for local people, and we encourage local businesses to take the #EnginesOff pledge.”

The Idling Action Project, jointly led by Camden Council and City of London Corporation, and supported by the Mayor of London, has been running since 2016.

As part of the #EnginesOff pledge, Idling Action is offering London drivers free training and are providing a toolkit of resources to businesses, whose operations involve vehicle fleets, professional drivers, or employees who travel by car to work.

The group wants to arm companies with the knowledge of how best to reduce air pollution caused by vehicles, in order to protect the health of drivers and the public.

Idling Action has already been running air pollution anti-idling workshops with 40 schools, and speaking with 7,900 drivers to ask them to switch off their engines at regular idling action events throughout the 31 partner boroughs.

To find out more about the #EnginesOff Campaign, visit here