Epping Forest District Council’s main focus for Clean Air Day on 21 June 2018, is to help reduce air pollution by tackling idling vehicles, particularly outside schools.
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Risk of hefty fines
Epping Forest District Council has adopted legislation to deal with idling cars. It is now an offence to withhold information or fail to switch off your engine if requested by an authorized officer. You could be taken to court, convicted and fined up to £1,000. Alternatively, an on the spot fixed penalty notice of £20 can be issued by authorised officers.
Leaving engines running while stationary is a significant source of air pollution. Combating this is particularly important in locations where there are high numbers of idling vehicle engines, such as outside schools and hospitals. Not only is idling harmful to the environment but it can be harmful to the vehicle itself and your pocket – as it wastes fuel.
Modern cars no longer need to be warmed up in advance and the act of restarting the engine does not cause damage to the vehicles as it used to with older models. In fact, it can do more damage to keep a stationary vehicle idling than to switch off the engine.
Linked health issues
There are several health issues linked with poor air pollution including:
- Increased respiratory conditions such as Asthma, coughs and bronchitis
- Reduced birth weight of babies and premature births
- Links to Lung Cancer
- Increased risk of death from cardiac and respiratory issues
- Possible links to incidence of Dementia, Type 2 Diabetes and Bladder Cancer
Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Nigel Avey said: “Turning off your engine when stationary is just one of the small changes that can be made to help improve poor air quality. Thursday 21 June sees the return of Global Action Plan’s “Clean Air Day” which the Council are supporting to help increase awareness and reduce air pollution.”
“We have provided local schools with toolkits and promotional materials to help them plan their own Clean Air Day events and on the day Enforcement Officers will be in place at some school gates, to help educate those who still have their engines running while waiting for their children.”
What can I do?
Some of the other small changes you can make to improve air quality include
- Use your feet! Leave your car at home and walk! Stick to routes away from main roads and boost your steps
- Use public transport. If it’s too far to walk, go by bus or tube – try alternative methods
- Car share. Is there anyone you can share your journey with?
- Maintain your car. Having well inflated tyres and an empty boot helps use less fuel
- Getting a new car soon? Look into alternative options such as hybrid, electric or LPG
If you would like more information on Clean Air Day and how you can be involved
- Follow them on social media @Cleanairdayuk