Drivers warned: 'Don't idle!' as council launches clean air campaign

Image of Iford and Kingston School pupils with Cllr Linington, Mr Dobell and Cllr Vic Ient

Lewes District Council has launched a campaign encouraging drivers to cut down on air pollution by turning off their engine while dropping off children at school.

Across the district, schools are being invited to sign up to the anti-idling campaign. Those that do will receive digital information packs to send out to parents and pupils giving them the opportunity to find out more about air pollution and ways to reduce it.

For every minute a vehicle idles, it could fill 150 balloons with toxic chemicals.

The campaign idea is the result of a motion proposed by Councillor Isabelle Linington and supported by the council.

Councillor Linington, Cabinet Member for the Environment, said:

“Air pollution impacts on everyone but some groups are more vulnerable, such as children, and it can affect their lungs before as well as after birth. That is why we want to change people’s behaviour and raise awareness of the damage caused by keeping engines running.”

The first school to sign up to the council campaign is Iford and Kingston Church of England Primary School in Kingston.

Headteacher Andrew Dobell said: “We fully support this initiative as we want clean air in and around our school, ensuring the best environment possible for pupils, staff, parents and anyone who visits us.

“It’s a simple request to drivers and the benefits are significant, so we hope everyone does their bit to cut down on pollution.”

The scheme is part of the council’s ongoing work to raise air quality awareness in partnership with East Sussex County Council, Sussex-air and Public Health England.

Idling facts:

  • Turning the engine OFF and restarting it after 1 minute causes LESS pollution & uses LESS fuel than keeping the engine running
  • Modern batteries need less engine running time to stay charged
  • Idling an engine will not keep a catalytic converter warm. They retain heat for approximately 25 minutes after the engine is switched off
  • It takes up to an hour for an engine to cool down. Turning off the engine but keeping the ignition & the fan blowing will provide warm air for sometime

What can drivers do?

  • Switch off when picking up or dropping off children from school

  • Switch off when waiting to pick up passengers
  • Switch off when delivering, loading or waiting at the roadside
  • Switch off when sitting in traffic or at level crossings

Any schools wishing to sign up should contact customerfirst@lewes-eastbourne.gov.uk

Published 5 March 2019