Colchester Borough Council launches anti-idling campaign

Colchester Borough Council has installed new signs at the most polluted areas of the town, asking drivers to switch off their engines while stationary. 

The road signs focus on three different messages: 

  • Responsibility: ‘Join other responsible drivers in Colchester’
  • Effectiveness and recognising that your own actions have an impact: ‘You will improve the air quality in this area’
  • Reflection: ‘Think about your actions’

The roadsigns can now be seen by all road users at the traffic lights on Brook Street, in both directions, and at the East Gates rail crossing. 

To evaluate the effectiveness of each sign the Council is working in partnership with the University of Essex.

Research Assistants will regularly monitor the number of drivers switching off their engines, and the impact on air quality near to the signs, for the next 18 months.

It is hoped that by taking a psychological approach the signs will encourage as many drivers as possible to take immediate action.

The project is funded by the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and supports the Colchester-wide CAReless Pollution campaign. 

Cllr Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation said: ‘Air quality is an important issue in Colchester, affecting everyone who lives and visits our town.

‘Car pollution is a major source of pollution with as much as 30% coming from vehicle engines running whilst stationary. We hope the installation of these new signs will help remind drivers of the simple actions they can take to help improve the air we all breathe.”

Dr Marie Juanchich, from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex, added: ‘We were very happy to support Colchester Borough Council in their plans to cut pollution in our town and to improve air quality. As scientific advisors on the project, we ensure that the benefits of this programme are thoroughly evaluated so that findings could inspire future actions to curb pollution.’

Photo Credit – Colchester Borough Council



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Peter Murtagh
Peter Murtagh
3 years ago

Let’s hope that Colchester has more success and is more serious than my local authority, who launched a campaign in October called 30 Reasons to Switch Off in a blaze od publicity. I sent in an FOI, as I live with 1 mile of four schools and see no signs etc. The FOI asked for numbers of schools involved and criteria for selecting schools and measuring success. After a long delay and a repeated request, I finally received the response that they had no information “recorded on our database and is not readily retrieveable”. But a manager ascertained that 4 to 7 schools were involved . Out of 121 primary schools ? And no criteria available to judge success? I found that shocking. Not just the small number of schools but the lack of recorded data. If it was a trial project, surely someone would know how many schools and the criteria for success ?

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