Motorists switch off engines to fight air pollution

Four out of five motorists agreed to turn off their idling engines during a campaign of action days to tackle air pollution in Hammersmith & Fulham.

Officers from H&F Council and Transport for London were joined by volunteer residents, dubbed ‘Clean Air Champions’, across six different events in various locations in the borough where drivers were asked to turn off their engines.

Of 135 vehicles stopped over the campaign, to raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution in the borough, 82 per cent switched off.

“It was great so see so many motorists get on board with what we are trying to achieve and agreeing to turn off their engines,” said Mahmood Siddiqi, H&F Council Director for Transport and Highways.

“Air pollution is a major concern for the council and it’s important that residents and motorists in our borough work with us to reduce engine and exhaust pollutants.”

Of the total vehicles stopped during the awareness campaign, 58 were cars, 48 were vans and 17 were taxis, with trucks and minicabs making up the remainder.

Even passing pedestrians stopped and chatted to find out more about the ‘no idling’ campaign and get advice on air pollution.

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Image caption: Image 1: No-idling action day volunteers in Hammersmith town centre

Stopping idling reduces pollution

The majority of air pollution in the borough comes from road transport. The latest figures 50 per cent of all nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter pollution in H&F comes from road transport – the majority of which is from diesel vehicles.  One way to reduce these numbers is to stop engine idling. 

A recent trial led by the University of Leicester involved a school-aged volunteer carrying a personal air quality monitor to see where air pollution was worst on his normal commute.  This trial found the highest levels, even higher than waiting to cross a busy road, was when passing an idling vehicle on a side street.  

A 2015 report by Kings College London identified that approximately 25 per cent of early deaths in the borough are attributable to poor air quality. 

The action days took place at Hammersmith town centre (18 October 2016), Fulham Broadway (8 November 2016), Shepherds Bush Green (13 December 2016), Parsons Green (7 March 2017), Hammersmith Broadway / Kensington Olympia (15 March 2017) and Scrubs Lane / Harrow Road / East Acton (28 March 2017).

Find out more

Find out more about air quality in H&F. You can read the report on air quality by the H&F Air Quality Commission.