Pupils at Middleton Primary School encouraged drivers to switch off their engines for cleaner air today (Thursday 20 June).

They were joined by Nottingham City Councillor Zafran Khan and officers from the council’s Community Protection team to raise awareness of the harmful effects of engine idling, as the City Council prepares to take action later this year.

In a survey last year, 82 per cent of respondents supported taking action against engine idling, and from September the council will be able to issue drivers leaving their engines running with a £20 fine.

Mark Brumwell, Headteacher at the school, in Wollaton, said: “Children are particularly vulnerable to exhaust emissions due to their height, but it’s likely many drivers waiting in their cars with engines running don’t realise how harmful these fumes can be.

“It follows a week of action at the school last week, encouraging people to park responsibly. It’s important to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of road safety and our impact on the environment so we can all take action for cleaner air.”

The council’s anti-idling policy will specifically target motorists idling outside schools, at taxi ranks and at level crossings.

Anti idling

Cllr Khan, Executive Assistant for Green Nottingham and a ward member for Wollaton West, said: “It’s been great to see the children getting involved and helping to spread the positive message that there are simple things we can all do to improve air quality, not just on Clean Air Day, but every day.

“Clean air is so important for healthy lives, and it affects absolutely everyone. The council has been working hard for several years to reduce air pollution in the city. Transport emissions are one of the largest contributors, so many of our efforts have focused on this area – we’ve got an electric tram, invested in biogas and electric buses, and improved our cycling infrastructure.

“Our latest measures, to retrofit diesel buses with cleaner exhaust technology and introduce ultra low emission taxis, were outlined in our Local Plan to Improve Air Quality, which was the first in the country to receive approval from Defra.

“Now we’re seeking to raise awareness of the dangers of idling ahead of taking action against those waiting with their engines running later this year.”

Anyone can get involved in cleaning up our air by trying a greener mode of travel, such as walking or cycling to work or school, taking public transport, and switching off their engine.