Colchester Borough Council (CBC) and Colchester Borough Homes (CBH) will be celebrating National Clean Air Day on Thursday 21 June with the launch of a 'No Idling' policy which aims to cut down air pollution across the borough.
The new policy will mean that drivers of CBC and CBH vehicles (except for recycling and rubbishcollection vehicles when collecting refuse and street cleaning vehicles) and all staff using their own vehicles for business travel, will adopt the ‘No Idling’ policy and switch off their vehicle engines when stationary.
The policy will also be introduced at all Council office premises including Rowan House and Shrub End, where new signage will encourage drivers to support the campaign by turning off their vehicle’s engine when stationary.
In addition, on 21 June, the North Essex Parking Partnership's Civil Enforcement Officers and zone team staff will be chatting to drivers on their regular patrols and encouraging them to switch off their engines when parked, helping to protect the health of people on nearby pavements and within cars behind them.
Cllr Martin Goss, Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “I’m delighted that this policy is being introduced to help improve air quality across the borough and beyond. We hope the campaign will make all drivers think twice about leaving their engines running when stationary and will be inspired to join us on National Clean Air Day and beyond to embark on their own ‘No Motor Idling’ actions. If everyone gets into the habit of turning off their engines when stationary, we can make a real difference to the localised build-up of pollution and help improve the quality of the air we all breathe.”
The 'No Idling' policy supports the National Clean Air Day activities in Colchester, being delivered by Colchester Travel Plan Club (CTPC) and its members including Colchester Borough Council,Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust and the University of Essex. The annual event aims to raise awareness about air pollution, and through the sharing of information and toolkits, help communities take action to make the air they breathe cleaner and healthier for everyone.
This Clean Air Day, CBC is also reminding residents of its AirText service, which provides free air quality health alerts and daily information on air quality, temperature, UV and pollen levels for Colchester.
Research from the Royal College of Physicians has found how air pollution is a real and growing concern across the UK and harms the health of millions. Transport is a major source of air pollution, with toxic gases (such as nitrogen dioxide) and matter emitted by vehicle engines contributing to a whole range of health problems, from coughing and itchy eyes to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and even premature death. Children are particularly at risk with air pollution linked to low birth weight and poor lung development.
Cllr Tina Bourne, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities including Livewell Colchester said: “Statistics show that leaving engines running while stationary is an unnecessary source of air pollution which is so harmful to people’s health and well-being. As part of our Livewell Colchester initiative, it was important to us to do something to tackle this issue. Switching off your engine when stationary is a really simple action everyone can take to contribute to reducing air pollution.”
Any businesses or organisations who would like to take part in the campaign should contact Colchester Travel Plan Club via www.colchestertravelplanclub.co.uk/