A CAMPAIGN to encourage drivers to switch off engines when their vehicles are stationary, other than when waiting in traffic queues, is being promoted with a poster designed by a local school pupil.
The Council ran a competition inviting Year 5 pupils to design a picture to go on ‘anti-idling’ signs outside schools, taxi ranks and other vehicle idling hotspots around the borough.
The competition was won by Leonie McKenzie, 10, of St John’s Primary School, east Reading, and signs and leaflets will now be produced to support officers in getting over the ‘no idling’ message to drivers.
The campaign to encourage drivers to switch off their engines is part of the Council’s ongoing Air Quality Action Plan.
Research shows switching off a vehicle’s engine when stationary for a minute significantly reduces harmful pollutants and improves air quality.
Year 5 pupils were invited to design a picture which could be used as part of the idling campaign encouraging people to turn off their engine.
The winning design by Leonie shows a parked car belching out exhaust fumes. Posters have been designed using Leonie’s picture with the messages; ‘No Idling, Turn off your engine – Children breathing’. Another message says ‘Turn off your engine – It’s the law!’
The signs will be seen outside schools and other idling hot spots and officers will follow this up with a number of campaign days to promote the no-idling message with drivers. Officers will ask motorists to switch off their engines and provide them with a leaflet warning of the harm that is done to health by idling.
Fixed penalty notices can be issued when drivers refuse to switch off their engines after being asked to, or to repeat offenders.
This will also be followed up with campaign event days starting next spring to be held in a variety of locations in the borough.
Cllr Tony Page, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“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.
“Stationary vehicles can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as when they are moving which is why this anti-idling campaign is so important. I must stress that vehicles caught in traffic jams will NOT be ticketed!
“The aim is to focus on hot-spots such as schools and I would like to thank all the children who took part in the competition to help promote the ‘no idling’ message.”
Notes to Editors
Photo Opportunity: Media are invited to send a reporter/photographer when Reading Mayor Cllr Rose Williams will be presenting Leonie with a prize for her winning design at St John’s Primary School, Orts Road, Reading, RG1 3JN at 1pm on Monday 13th November.
The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 gives discretionary powers to officers to issue fixed penalty notices of £20 to drivers (rising to £40 if unpaid) who allow their vehicle engines to run unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary.
The regulations do not apply to traffic which is stationary in traffic.