West Suffolk's anti-idling campaign goes national
A campaign started in West Suffolk to tackle air pollution by stopping drivers from leaving their engines running whilst stationary is set to be stretched out nationally.
The anti-idling campaign, which was run by Cool World Consulting in partnership with West Suffolk Council and local schools, aimed to cut toxic fumes emitted from cars by making drivers turn their engines off whilst waiting to pick people up.
Pupils from four schools, including Guildhall Feoffment Primary and St Edmunds Primary in Bury , leafleted drivers outside their school grounds to encourage them to not idle.
The campaign also looked to educate children on the dangers of idling, so they could transfer that knowledge to parents, grandparents and guardians.
Now Cool World Consulting has used its work in West Suffolk to develop its national initiative Cleaner Air Sooner, which has been backed with funding from international philanthropic organisation, the Clean Air Fund.
Lucy Harbor from Cool World Consulting said: “The campaign in West Suffolk showed just how effective children are at encouraging behaviour change.
"One hundred per cent of the drivers they spoke to switched off their engines, helping the pupils in Suffolk to breathe cleaner air.
"We are delighted that this now features as one of the case studies in our programme.
"And our toolkit for idling, which is now being promoted to schools across the country, builds on the learning from the project in West Suffolk”.
Nationally, idling is linked to air pollution which Public Health England estimates is a contributory factor in around 40,000 early deaths every year, whilst it is known children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution.
West Suffolk Council has a legal duty to monitor air quality across the district and although the air quality is generally good it says it is committed to improving this further.
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “According to UNICEF a large percentage of exposure to pollutants can be found on the daily school run – and the impact on children's health from fumes from vehicles including idling is huge.
"That is why this work, which is just one part of our efforts to cut air pollution and tackle climate change, is so important and why I am delighted that it has been developed into a national initiative.
"I would also like to thank everyone involved here in West Suffolk."