Pupils from St. Helen’s RC Primary School near the heavily polluted Brixton Road joined Lambeth council environment and transport chief Jennifer Brathwaite in Windrush Square today to launch a London-wide clean air campaign.
Backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, Let’s Clear The Air will encourage drivers to turn off their engines when they are not moving. There are nearly 10,000 early deaths from air pollution in the capital each year.
The campaign will see concerned residents and council staff taking to the streets after training to back the fight against air pollution in the borough.
Vehicle pollutants are linked to asthma, bronchitis, heart disease and cancer and idling is an offence under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002.
With funding from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, 12 councils including Lambeth have banded together to encourage drivers to give up their idling habit.
Councillor Brathwaite, Lambeth council cabinet member for environment and transport, joined the pupils at a giant, air quality themed snakes and ladders board and air quality information stall.
The game helps children to learn about air pollution, engine idling and the effects they have on health.
The community volunteers will patrol the streets – focusing on idling hot spots, chatting to drivers who are idling and rewarding them with a mini version of the game if they switch off and pledge not to idle again.
They will also be giving people facts about air pollution, such as its role in stunting lung growth in children.
Councillor Braithwaite said: “We all have a responsibility to improve air quality in Lambeth. We should all walk and cycle more and avoid using cars whenever possible.
“Drivers should be aware of the air pollution they cause when idling and how it affects their health and the health of everyone around, especially children. A simple action such as switching off the engine when waiting to pick someone up or if you’re stuck in traffic, can go a long way in helping everyone, including children, to breathe better.”
Vehicle Idling Action events will be running for the next six months. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer find out more at: www.idlingaction.london or Love Lambeth or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
@idlingaction and #noidling.