Air Quality Champions Needed to Spread No Idling Message

READING Borough Council is seeking volunteers to become local Air Quality Champions and help spread its clean air and anti-idling message.

Saturday March 24th is ‘no idling campaign day’ in Reading and the Council is appealing to local citizens to come forward and help persuade motorists to switch off their engines.

Volunteers would receive training where they would learn about the strong link between idling engines and poor health. They will also be given tips on how best to approach drivers who have left car engines running, including providing them with information to help quash some common myths like leaving your car engine running is better for your vehicle, or that re-starting your engine burns more fuel than leaving it idling.

Drivers are invited to become part of the campaign to improve air quality by switching off their engines. The friendly and informative approach has had a 75% success rate when used in other towns or cities.

March 24th is the first of a three scheduled ‘no idling’ days in Reading over the spring and summer. Volunteers who register early can help in all three days.

Volunteering is easy. Go to http://www.reading.gov.uk/idlingaction to register or to find out more.

Tony Page
Cllr Tony Page

Councillor Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“This is an opportunity for anyone worried about air quality issues to do their bit and help the Council spread the message about the importance of drivers switching off their engines when stationary. It is a chance for people to do something very practical to help improve the air quality in their local area and, hopefully, derive a sense of satisfaction from helping their local community, either as an individual or in groups alongside friends and neighbours.

“Despite all the information which is available, the reality is that many people still believe the myth that keeping their engine running is better for their vehicle and uses less petrol. Stationary vehicles can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as when they are moving. Unnecessarily running car engines while stationary pollutes the air we breathe, leading to an increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer and asthma attacks. It is also illegal on the highway.”

Air Quality Champion volunteers will be given a pre-event briefing to cover information about the no idling campaign day, including a recap on health and safety guidance and high vis vests. Volunteers will then  go out in pairs to specific zones to ask motorists to join the campaign to improve local air quality and switch off engines.

Alternatively, air quality champions have the option of facilitating a giant snakes and ladders game which has an air quality theme. People taking part can read the messages on the game as they play, learning about air pollution as they are having fun. Volunteers will hand out leaflets and mini versions of the game to participants and passers-by.

Last year the Council ran a competition for school children to design a no idling sign. The winning entry has since been made into signs which have been put up at idling hotspots around the borough, such as outside schools and taxi ranks.

Oscar Mortali

For media enquiries about this release email oscar.mortali@reading.gov.uk or call 0118 937 2301