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Stowmarket campaigners ramp up anti-idling campaign

Campaigners are continuing an anti-idling campaign after a successful day of action

Volunteers from the Stowmarket Eco Future Group put up signs and handed out leaflets to cars waiting at the railway crossings on Station Road, Stowmarket, on Clean Air Day, on June 17, advising they turn off their engines.

They say a survey they have since carried out shows the number of cars turning off their engines while waiting is now 20 per cent higher than before.

Campaigners handed out leaflets at Stowmarket train station
Campaigners handed out leaflets at Stowmarket train station

But the campaigners are continuing their anti-idling campaign by also noting down names of company vehicles stopping at the crossing and emailing their company if the drivers don't comply with the signs.

“The barriers across the road are down for a minimum of four minutes and queues of cars leave their engines idling while they wait,” said Sharri McGarry, of Stowmarket Eco Future Group.

“Idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air.

"These fumes contain a number of harmful gases including carbon dioxide, which contributes towards climate change, as well as a range of other harmful gases including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons which are linked to asthma and other lung diseases.

The campaigners say motorists are taking notice of the signs.
The campaigners say motorists are taking notice of the signs.

"The day of action on June 17 was a success.

The people we leafleted were, for the most part, very interested and sympathetic to the air pollution problems and complied by turning off their engines.

She added: "We did a small survey beforehand and have just completed another.

We found that 20 per cent more cars were turning their engines off whilst waiting at the barriers.

"I asked a number of drivers if they had seen the signs we left around the crossings and they had."

Local councillors John Matthissen, Keith Welham, Paul Ekpenyong, Maria Childs and David Muller also went along to show support and help out.

Sharri McGarry added: "In addition, we have been spending some time at the crossings, noting down company names on vehicles, such as vans and lorries, that do not comply with the request to turn off engines.

Then we email the company and ask for their help in spreading the message to their drivers.

The sign now used at the crossing was based on research by the School of Psychology.

According to the campaigners, a team of psychologists led by Professor Dominic Abrams, Dr Tim Hopthrow and Dr Fanny Lalot found that using carefully worded road signage can decrease the number of drivers leaving engines idling during queues at level crossing barriers.

Sharri McGarry, said: "The signs will also be placed at other points around the town.

"Our intention is to carry on the campaign in September at schools where there is a problem with some parents turning up early to secure a parking space and sitting in their cars with the engine idling.

"We are also planning a big campaign next Clean Air Day 2022.

"We have had great support from town council, Mid Suffolk and the County Council for our campaign."

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