Kids need clean air! Drivers asked to switch off their engines when parked, waiting or stationary


Warwickshire County Council has recently re-launched their popular ‘Kids Need Clean Air’ campaign in partnership with Warwickshire Primary Schools.


This campaign aims to educate drivers of the benefits of switching off their vehicle engines when stationary, with a particular focus on engine idling outside schools during drop-off and pick-ups.


The best way to reduce air pollution is to use vehicles less, however if travelling by car is essential it is important for engines to be switched off when waiting or stationary. Engines left running – Idling – increase the amount of exhaust fumes in the air, with these fumes containing harmful gases which pollute the environment, contribute towards climate change, and are linked to health conditions such as respiratory illnesses and lung and heart disease. Idling often occurs outside schools at drop off and pick up times, which means children are exposed to increased air pollution.


Idling uses unnecessary fuel and is a significant contributor to local air pollution. By stopping engine idling, drivers will reduce fuel costs and save money, improve air quality, and reduce air pollutants which can help cut heart disease, reduce lung cancer and prevent asthma attacks. By reducing the amount of fuel being used, drivers can improve the quality of the air that we breathe.


Throughout February 2023, 27 primary schools across the county launched this campaign, with each of these schools receiving a banner for the schools’ railings, a digital animation offering advice and guidance for parents and carers, and an article for newsletters.


Councillor Wallace Redford, Portfolio Holder for Transport and Planning at Warwickshire County Council, said: “This important campaign shines a light on the harm that idling vehicles cause, not only to our environment by contributing to climate change, but also to our health and the health of the younger generation.


“If those aren’t incentive enough, the financial toll and potential harm to our vehicles should give us extra pause for thought, the next time that we find ourselves at a standstill whilst at the wheel.”


Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Climate & Culture at Warwickshire County Council, said: “It may seem like a small step to take, but if we all switch off our engines when our cars are stationary, we can significantly reduce harmful carbon emissions and at the same time make the air safer for us all to breathe.”


Warwickshire Road Safety Education Team is committed to improving air quality and tackling climate change and are asking all adults who need to travel by car to set a positive example and turn their engines off when stationary. This campaign form part of a wider programme to improve air quality outside schools.


Warwickshire Road Education Team will be using social media to raise awareness and educate about the dangers of engine idling. Please follow the campaign on social media on Facebook @WCCSafeActiveTravel and Twitter @WCCSafe_Active.


Warwickshire County Councils Cars Idling campaign forms part of the wider Safe and Active Schools programme to help schools and parents find safe and sustainable ways to travel to school with their children, including walking, cycling, and scooting.


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