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Drivers do their bit to improve air quality in Swale

Published Wednesday 30 March, 2022
Last updated on Wednesday 30 March, 2022

People who have been approached by Swale Borough Council’s enforcement officers as part of their anti-idling campaign have done their bit to improve air quality.

Since the council introduced the anti-idling legislation and launched the education campaign late last year, officers have been visiting school hotspot locations across Swale where idling engines are at their highest.

The seven schools identified as hotspots where parents leave their engines running include:

  • Fulston Manor school in Sittingbourne
  • South Avenue Primary School in Sittingbourne
  • Highsted Grammar school in Sittingbourne
  • Ethelbert Road Infants School in Faversham
  • Bysingwood Primary School in Faversham
  • Davington School in Faversham
  • Ospringe Primary School in Faversham.

Research shows that an idling vehicle can emit up to 20 times more of some pollutants that one travelling at 32mph and these pollutants can cause asthma and be particularly damaging for children.

Cllr Tim Valentine, cabinet member for the climate and ecological emergency at the council, said:

“Our enforcement officers have approached 16 drivers who had their engines idling while waiting to collect their children from school since the campaign begun and they’ve all been understanding and switched their engines off.

“Our officers can issue an £20 FPN to drivers who refuse to switch off their engines, but we don’t want to jump straight to a fine and think we’ll have better results by educating people to the increase in pollution an idling engine can have.

“Each car we approached was given a leaflet with idling advice and information on air pollution and the impacts on health.

“We put up 42 signs around the seven school hot spots and drivers seem to be happy to switch their engines off, especially around schools.

“By leaving your car idling it emits 20 times more pollution that one travelling at 30mph and what most people don’t realise is that if you leave your car engine running the pollution levels inside will be worse than outside.

“Idling for an hour can waste half a gallon of fuel or more so switching off your engine will save fuel and money.”

The next hotspots to be added to the anti-idling campaign include Fulston Manor school and Lansdowne school in Sittingbourne, Faversham train station, Bank Street in Faversham and Vincent Road in Sittingbourne.

People can report a hotspot for investigation by calling the council on 01795 417850.

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