Clean Air Champions help raise drivers’ awareness of idling engines emissions

Teams of Clean Air Champions made up of trained City of London residents, City of London Corporation officers and the environmental charity Living Streets, were out in the City’s streets engaging idling engine drivers this week in a bid to cut City air pollution [Wednesday 07 December].

The champions were taking part in the City of London Corporation’s ‘Idling Engines Action Day’ campaign, which aims to reduce Londoners’ exposure to vehicle emissions by getting drivers to turn off their engines when parked. Idling vehicles emit pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter which are linked to asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and cancer. People with respiratory conditions, the elderly, pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable.

When a champion discovers a parked vehicle with its engine running for more than a minute, they ask the driver to turn the engine off in a bid to help them to take practical action to reduce the harmful impact of air pollution in London.

The campaign is designed to raise awareness with drivers of the harmful effects of air pollution caused by idling engines. Drivers are given information leaflets to help them understand their role in making the air we breathe healthier for all Londoners.

City of London resident and Clean Air Champion Sarah Hudson (pictured) said:

We want to build a real momentum behind this initiative to reduce air pollution. Asking drivers to switch off when parked helps to raise awareness and shows that everyone can contribute towards improving air quality. We have had really positive responses from the drivers we have spoken to so far and it is very encouraging to see that so many are switching off.”

Wendy Mead, City of London Corporation Environment Chairman, said:

“We are training City residents who actively want to make a difference on the street, empowering them to engage idling engine drivers in their daily lives. At the moment our numbers are small but growing, and our aim is to assemble a sustainable team of volunteers for the future.

“Addressing idling engines is one part of a wider strategy for vital improvements to air quality in the City. We are working closely with City businesses to help them to reduce their reliance on high emission vehicles, and with taxis companies to go ‘electric only’ in key areas in the Square Mile. This builds on our other initiatives like the 20pmh zone and our low-exposure City Air travel app.”

The City Corporation’s Idling Engines Action Day model has been rolled out across 11 other local authorities with funding from the Mayor of London’s air quality fund. Camden, Enfield, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster are all taking part. Volunteers are recruited through the initiative’s website - www.idlingaction.london – and businesses are being encouraged to support the scheme by promoting the message and supplying staff volunteers.


Notes to editors

  • The City Corporation has a team of over 30 local authority Civil Enforcement Officers and Environmental Health Officers who engage with idling engine drivers on a daily basis
  • The vast majority of drivers react in a positive way. But Clean Air Champions are trained to walk away from any negative reactions and move on.

Media enquiries

Carl Locsin, Public Services Media Officer, City of London Corporation

T 020 7332 3654 / M 07738 862 229

E carl.locsin@cityoflondon.gov.uk