Be a Breath of Fresh Air on World Environment Day

5 June 2019

Cheshire West and Chester Council is launching a campaign to combat the effects of engine idling on air quality today, Wednesday 5 June - World Environment Day.

Be a Breath of Fresh Air is part of the Council’s Air Aware campaign and asks motorists to switch off their engine when their vehicle is parked to prevent emissions affecting air quality in the borough. 

World Environment Day is the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment. Since it began in 1974, the event has grown to become a global platform, widely celebrated in over 100 countries.

The Council revealed its plans to begin fining motorists who do not switch off their engine while their vehicle is stationary when asked to do so, by an authorised officer, earlier this year.  The plans are part of the Council’s Low Emission Strategy which was approved by Cabinet in September last year.

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Karen Shore said: “Vehicle emissions are the most significant source of air pollution in the borough and something we can all help to reduce.

“As well as wasting fuel (and money), unnecessary engine idling means harmful vehicle pollution is released into the atmosphere, which is bad for the environment and all our health.

“Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts.  It particularly affects the most vulnerable in society, including children and older people, especially those with heart and lung conditions. Additionally air pollution is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer.”

Cheshire West and Chester Council adopted the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to drivers who do not switch off their idling engine when asked to do so by an authorised officer earlier this year.

This applies primarily to vehicles that are stationary on the roadside, or at bus stops, and doesn’t apply to vehicles waiting at traffic lights, road junctions or zebra crossings.

In Council car parks, it is already a contravention of the Traffic Regulation Order to allow a vehicle to idle unnecessarily, and a Penalty Charge Notice can be issued to the driver.

The simple advice is: If you’re parked, please switch off your engine.

You can find out more about air quality levels in West Cheshire and what we’re doing to improve these by visiting the Low Emission Strategy page on the Council’s website.  

The page also includes some interests ‘myth busting’ facts about engine idling.  For example, the belief that restarting an engine uses more fuel than idling is false – on the whole, engines idling for more than 10 seconds use more fuel and produce more pollution than starting the motor.

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