Engine idling action takes place in Merton

Merton Council’s Air Quality team have been out and about raising awareness of ​engine idling and the dangerous and unnecessary air pollution that is produced as a result.

Merton is part of the Pan London Idling Action Project, which involves 31 local authorities joining forces to tackle engine idling and improve air quality with support from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund. The project helps residents understand how switching off their engines not only protects public health and makes an immediate improvement to local air quality but saves fuel and money too.

Merton’s monthly engine idling events inform unaware drivers of the needless act of engines idling, which contributes to localised air pollution. 

The latest engine idling event took place in Colliers Wood on Tuesday 23 November and included volunteers from Sustainable Merton and the council’s Air Quality Officers.

Many drivers are keeping their engines on in the current cold weather, not realising that if the engine is switched off but ignition kept on, the heater should stay warm for up to 30 minutes.

During the visit, which was near Singlegate Primary School and the Tandem Centre Car Park, the team informed 10 idling drivers about the dangers of engine idling. Idling for just one minute creates 150 balloons of toxic pollution which can stunt young lungs and can cause asthma, lung and heart disease. 

Councillor Rebecca Lanning, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said:

“Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to peoples’ health and to the environment. Keeping the engine running while stuck in traffic or waiting to collect schoolchildren or others, contributes to a high level of air pollutant levels. Drivers in Merton can make simple changes to improve air quality in their area, like switching off their engines when stuck in a traffic jam or waiting and switching to other modes of transport, such as buses or trains for longer journeys whenever possible.”

Idling drivers contribute to localised air pollution

Merton engine idling events occur every few weeks. The next one will be at Pelham Primary School in December. For more information about our campaign of if you would like to volunteer, visit here.

Councillor Martin Whelton, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Climate Emergency said:

“Our anti-idling campaign will help reduce the numbers of idling vehicles in Merton, minimise unnecessary pollution from stationary vehicles and educate drivers about the risks involved. Drivers can make a positive difference and promote clean travel behaviour, which will help the environment and safeguard personal and public health.”

For more information visit the London Idling Action Project website here.