Council calls for 'engines off' on Clean Air Day - and every day!

Mendip's car drivers and businesses are being encouraged by the Council to turn their engines off while stationary.

The reminder is to mark Clean Air Day on October 8th, but the Council wants every day to be an 'engines off'' day.

Road vehicles are the biggest contributor of harmful emissions. Mendip Council, like many local authorities is therefore encouraging business users and residents to avoid engine idling where possible. (Vehicle idling is running your engine unnecessarily while your vehicle remains stationary).

Mendip is proud to recognise it has good air quality - a fact which is acknowledged annually by Central Government audit. Striving to maintain this position is important for the promotion of good health of our communities, which is why the Council is engaging in a number of measures associated with enhancing air quality.

Through collaboration and partnerships with neighbouring local authorities and partner organisations, such as Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP), the Council is actively pursuing a programme of informing public and private transport operators, contractors and other significant commercial fleet users to discourage vehicle idling on the highway.

Collaboration with partners is also aimed at discouraging unnecessary idling of vehicles in the council's public car parks, where signage is being installed to remind users to adopt positive behaviours around anti-idling.

Children and infants are particularly vulnerable to the effects of harmful air pollution. The Council is to work with schools by supporting them with air quality information which can be incorporated into curricular activities looking at health and transport.

The Council has also been promoting the benefits of walking or cycling through the Government's Active Travel Fund, in the hope of changing the driving habits of local people -from dropping their children off at school, to when in traffic hotspots.

Cllr Heather Shearer, Portfolio Holder for Community Health, said: "Air quality in Mendip is essentially good, but we can't rest on our laurels.

"We can all do our bit to reduce air pollution and switch off our engines when we are stationary for more than two minutes.

"Whilst sometimes it is perfectly reasonable that we may need to leave our engines on when stationary - to help defrost the car or if we are sat waiting for traffic lights at roadworks - most of the time it is totally unnecessary."

Cllr Shearer added: "It's about adjusting, encouraging and nudging behaviours. It's about thinking twice about what we are doing. I know that since I began learning about engine-idling, and the pollution problems it causes, I have changed my habits."

For more information on the clean air promotion, and Mendip's anti-idling measures, visit: https://www.mendip.gov.uk/idling