Anti-idling campaign

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News release: 12 June 2017

Drivers are urged to help improve people’s health and the environment by St Albans City and District Council’s anti-idling campaign.

Anti-idling campaign
Car, van, lorry, bus and taxi drivers are all being encouraged to switch off their engine whenever they are parked or stationary for more than a minute.

The Idling Action St Albans campaign focuses on the harmful effects of exhaust fumes emissions which pollute the air and contribute to heart and lung disease.

In Hertfordshire, Public Health England estimated in 2014 that 5.8% of all deaths in those over 25 – around 514 a year - are linked to air pollution (*).

The Council’s campaign will include social media activities and information leaflets issued with resident car parking permits. 

Friends of the Earth will be working on the campaign with the Council. They will help train volunteer Anti-Idling Community and School Champions to spread the message to drivers and residents. 

They may, for example, patrol in teams to encourage parents to switch off their engines while waiting outside schools.

Information will be distributed to the local taxi trade about the impact of keeping an engine idling while waiting in a queue.

Schools, community groups, businesses and parish councils are invited to get involved and devise their own projects.

The campaign also intends to debunk myths, including the false claim that restarting engines wears down parts and uses more fuel than idling.

Councillor Beric Read, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Business and Community, said: “We are committed as a Council to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the District by 3% a year and improving air quality for residents and visitors. 

“It’s important that drivers are aware that they can make a difference by switching off their engine when they are parked or stationary. 

“We aim to persuade drivers of the need to change their behaviour, not to try and force them to do so. 

“Keeping your engine running while stationary pollutes the air and wastes fuel. We also hope to encourage people to leave their car at home once in a while.”

Another issue the campaign will highlight is that drivers and their passengers are exposed to fumes as well as people on the outside. This is especially the case when in a line of stationary vehicles with engines running.

Air pollution has also been shown to affect children’s mental and lung development and have long-term behavioural effects.

Anyone who wants to become involved in the campaign and become an Anti-Idling Champion should email:

For further information about the Council’s campaign, please check the website,, or the Facebook page,

This campaign coincides with National Clean Air Day on Thursday 15 June which urges all drivers to pledge to leave their car at home, switch off their engines or walk their children to school. Further information about that event can be found at

Councillor contact:
Councillor Beric Read, Portfolio Holder for Business and Community for St Albans City and District Council.
Tel: 07956 220264. Email:

Media contact:
John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 01727-296130

* Estimating Local Mortality Burdens associated with Particulate Air Pollution, Public Health England, 2014, pg 11: