Darlington Borough Council’s environmental health team has put together the Care for Clean Air campaign to encourage motorists not to leave their engine idling whilst their vehicle is stationary.
Leaving engines idling whilst waiting for youngsters to finish school is a particular area the team wishes to tackle alongside educating motorists generally.
Leaving an engine idling whilst parked up concentrates emissions from the engine and can lead to poor localised air quality.
It is estimated that an idling car causes enough emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful pollutants every minute.
Children especially can be more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution by breathing in the particles emitted and, in some cases, these can be linked to conditions such as asthma and respiratory infections.
Children breathe more rapidly than adults so absorb more pollutants.
They also breathe closer to the ground and the level of a vehicle exhaust; this is also true for very young children in buggies and prams.
The team will be providing schools with information, and it is hoped the Care for Clean Air campaign will encourage parents to switch off their engines.
Social media messages and other marketing tools will be used to help drive home this important message to prevent air pollution and protect health.
Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “Emissions from engines left to idle are harmful to health especially young children and those who are vulnerable. In addition, it can harm the environment, contributing to climate change; and it costs money to leave an engine running. Idling for even 10 seconds uses more fuel and creates more pollution than restarting your engine.
“Whilst it might be tempting to leave an engine switched on while you’re waiting to pick up children from school, especially when it’s cold and you want the heater on, it’s important to remember the possible damage you could be doing – please switch off. Better still, why not try and walk to school if you can.”