Local clean air volunteers take to streets across six London boroughs to ask drivers to turn off engines when parked
Hundreds of clean air volunteers have taken to the streets across six London boroughs today (March 9) to encourage drivers to avoid idling their engines when parked in a bid to drive down pollution.
The â€˜Change Makerâ€™ volunteers have been out at pollution hotspots in the first of two action days (March 9 and 16) organised to mark the Clean Air Action Fortnight campaign, which runs until the end of next week.
Wearing high-visibility jackets and â€˜Air Quality Championâ€™ vests, volunteers have been speaking to motorists and asking parked drivers to turn their engines off. They are also giving out air quality information leaflets explaining the health impacts of vehicle emissions.
Led by public-private organisation Cross River Partnershipâ€™s (CRP) â€˜Clean Air Better Businessâ€™ programme, which is supported through the Mayor of Londonâ€™s Â£20 million Air Quality Fund, the campaign aims to reduce Londonersâ€™ exposure to air pollution by educating drivers about air quality.
The initiative being run in collaboration with behaviour change charity Global Action Plan and university Kingâ€™s College London.
CRP air quality champion, Uto Patrick, said: â€œThis concerted effort across our participating Business Improvement District and boroughs is designed to build capacity in training up to 100 change makers and have a beneficial effect on air quality in these areas.â€
“By arranging Cleaner Air Action Fortnight across five boroughs we aim to draw attention to a problem that is costing Londoners their health and the economy Â£3.7bn p.a.â€ – Caroline Watson, Global Action Plan
Caroline Watson, senior partner at Global Action Plan, added: â€œCleaner Air Action Fortnight aims to educate drivers on the role they can play in improving Londonâ€™s air quality.Â Given the impact on our health, this is an urgent issue that demands collective action.Â By arranging Cleaner Air Action Fortnight across five boroughs we aim to draw attention to a problem that is costing Londoners their health and the economy Â£3.7bn p.a.â€
The Mayor of Londonâ€™s Air Quality Fund granted Â£330,000 to the Cross River Partnershipâ€™s clean air project, enabling the organisation to deliver a number of initiatives across Central London over the last three years.
Westminster city councillor Heather Acton, cabinet member for parking and sustainability, said:Â â€œEngine idling is a major problem in London and is a priority for the council to help address air pollution. It is common sense that turning off your engine is good for air quality and the environment, but it also makes financial sense for drivers. That is why I am pleased that so many Change Makers are joining me in Westminster to get out onto the streets and ask drivers to switch their engines off.â€
Next week, meanwhile, motorists in Wandsworth are being offered free vehicle emissions testing at the ASDA car park in Clapham Junction between 10am and 4pm on March 16 and 17.
Wandsworth borough councilâ€™s environmental services team will be out supporting trained technicians in order to help pinpoint engine problems early, as well as identifying vehicles which do not currently meet MOT emission standards, providing advice on servicing and upkeep.
Council officers will also be on hand to advise drivers on the simple steps they can take to reduce vehicle emissions and to make savings on running costs.
Copies of the councilâ€™s â€˜Smarter Driving Tipsâ€™ leaflet will be available with practical measures to reduce pollution such as removing unnecessary weight from the car, switching off air conditioning and pumping up tyres to the correct pressure.
There is no need to book for the emissions tests, which the council said would take a few minutes to complete.