A new London-wide campaign has been launched encouraging businesses to tackle air pollution caused by idling engines.
The call for action comes amidst emerging evidence that air pollution is linked to poor recovery and higher infection rates of COVID-19 due to damage caused to the lungs.
Idling Action’s #enginesoff campaign asks firms to pledge that their fleet drivers and other employees will not leave their engines on when parked.
The Idling Action Project, jointly led by the City of London Corporation and the London Borough of Camden, and supported by the Mayor of London, has been running since 2016. It sees 30 London local authorities and the City of London Corporation joining forces in a bid to cut dangerous vehicle emissions.
As part of the #EnginesOff pledge, Idling Action is offering London drivers free training and a providing a toolkit of resources to businesses, whose operations involve vehicle fleets, professional drivers, or employees who travel by car to work.
The group wants to arm companies with the knowledge of how best to reduce air pollution caused by vehicles to protect the health of drivers and the public.
Keith Bottomley, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environmental Services Committee, says: “Sixty-four thousand people die prematurely every year in the UK from breathing polluted air.
“Switching off the engine when your vehicle is parked is more important now than ever before. As we learn more about the harmful effects of COVID-19 on the lungs, we are making a particular plea to London’s businesses to play their part in ridding the capital of toxic air and saving lives.”
Construction company MACE has already signed up to the initiative. Omar Rouchdy, Mace’s Senior Sustainability Manager, says: “A clean work environment and work processes makes for a safer and healthier workplace. Given that poor air quality is one of the biggest killers in the UK, reducing harmful emissions on site can help reduce the risk of respiratory problems for people who work on site and the communities we work in.
“Mace will work with the Idling Action Project to deliver anti-idling training to our colleagues and those who work for our supply chain, equipping them with the knowledge needed to reduce unnecessary air pollution. Asking drivers not to idle is a simple action which can help to protect the health of the those working on site and the local community. “
Idling Action officers have already run air pollution anti-idling workshops with 40 schools, and spoken with nearly 8,000 drivers to ask them to switch off their engines at regular idling action events with London’s local authorities.
As well as asking businesses to pledge, the partner local authorities own fleets will be taking part in driver training and taking the #EnginesOff pledge.