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Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership empowers residents to tackle vehicle idling

Volunteers will take to the streets of Stevenage and across Hertfordshire on 16 June at anti-idling events in support of Clean Air Day, educating motorists on the need to switch off their engines when stopped to cut toxic emissions.

These events are being supported by the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP) through training and the provision of resources to communicate with motorists.

Air pollution is the environmental factor with the biggest impact on health in Britain, and Stevenage is no exception. Poor air quality can affect every part of the body and there is no safe level under which no effect is felt. Some communities are more vulnerable than others: children breathe more quickly than adults and their short stature puts them in direct line of highly toxic vehicle exhausts.

Clean Air Day on Thursday 16 June offers an opportunity to engage with people about how we can all influence our surroundings by taking measures to reduce our pollution footprint as well as reducing our exposure to harmful emissions.

In Stevenage and Hertfordshire, teams of anti-idling champions will be discussing vehicle idling (or leaving engines running when at a standstill) at the roadside in an informative, supportive way with motorists to better inform them of the effects of air pollution from their vehicles.

The national focus on Clean Air Day creates the opportunity for anyone to mark the occasion and be part of a bigger movement across the county and across Britain.

By choosing to focus on idling this Clean Air Day, all councils across Hertfordshire are creating a discussion around idling and linked subjects such as promoting cycling and walking. By working with partners and communities across the county, HCCSP aims to create changes for the better, making Hertfordshire a cleaner, greener, healthier county in which to live work and play.

Councillor Simon Speller, Executive portfolio holder for Climate Change & Environment at Stevenage Borough Council said:

“It may surprise you that there is in fact no safe limit for air pollution. Over 50 per cent of particulate matter, the tiny particles from exhausts, in urban areas is produced by vehicles. It is less polluting to turn your engine off and restart it after a minute or longer than to leave it running. Please; let’s have a big effort this Clean Air Day and onwards to stop your vehicle idling and contaminating Stevenage.”

If you’d like to get involved in future idling action events, please email helen.burridge@eastherts.gov.uk