Campaigners tackle vehicle idling on London streets

Events took place in twelve London boroughs last week in support of the Vehicle Idling Action campaign — aimed at stamping out engine idling on the city’s streets. 

A campaign volunteer with a driver who 'switched off'

A campaign volunteer with a driver who ‘switched off’

Action took place in Camden, City of London, Enfield, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster in support of the campaign, which has been backed financially through the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund.

Vehicle engine idling is when a motorist is stationary but continues to run their engine for a minute or more — which can contribute to air pollution.

The initiative saw volunteers invite passers-by to learn about air pollution, idling, and the effects they have on their health through games. Other volunteers patrolled the streets, spoke to any idling drivers to inform them of the issue.

To encourage drivers to give up the idling habit, volunteers also shared some information about air pollution, highlighting that it is linked to 9,500 deaths per year in the capital, according to a King’s College study (see story).

‘Health emergency’


Deputy Mayor for Environment Shirley Rodriguez with Argyle Primary School pupils

Backing the campaign, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment, Shirley Rodrigues, said: “Toxic air in London is a health emergency that requires bold action and the Mayor and I are determined to help every Londoner breathe cleaner air.

“I am proud to support this city-wide initiative to stamp out engine idling on London’s streets. It’s really impressive that local residents and workers are taking positive action themselves to help clean up the capital’s polluted air.”

Jemima Wade, head of Argyle primary school in Camden — which is one of the schools most affected by air pollution in the capital — said: “Our children live and breathe the effects of air pollution every day. That is why I am keen for the school to be part of this important project to help clean up London’s dirty air. It’s vital for our health, our environment and our children’s futures.”


Graham Daly, TfL’s head of operations in the Enforcement and On-Street directorate, said: “Not only is TfL investing in these Vehicle Idling Action days through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, we are putting bodies on the street to help out.

“Our Roads and Transport Enforcement Officers have been out and about working with enthusiastic volunteers to help educate drivers of the dangers leaving their engines on when stationary in traffic. It is pleasing to see that once motorists were spoken to, they were more than happy to play their part in cleaning up the Capital’s toxic air.”

Private vehicle hire firm Addison Lee has offered its support to the campaign, as have other companies including Carillion, Brompton Bikes and Virgin Money.

The Mayor recently launched the second phase of his air quality consultation (see story), which includes introducing charges for the most polluting vehicles and expanding the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

Related links

Vehicle Idling Action 


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