Drivers urged to switch idling engines off in Central Bedfordshire in bid to improve air quality

Central Bedfordshire survey backs switching idling car engines off
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

“Every minute counts” is the message from Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) as it launches a campaign urging drivers to switch off their engines when they are stationary.

The campaign comes after a CBC survey last year revealed almost half of Central Bedfordshire residents believe engine idling has a negative impact on their health.

Leaving a car running while stationary, known as engine idling, reduces air quality and, as emissions stay near the car, affects those closest to it. Exhaust fumes are especially harmful to children, who are closer to car exhaust pipes, and older people who are more likely to have cardiovascular illnesses.

People who took part in the survey said engine idling was an issuePeople who took part in the survey said engine idling was an issue
People who took part in the survey said engine idling was an issue

The council says idle engines are also wasteful because the car is using fuel unnecessarily. Contrary to a common misconception, idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and gives off more emissions than stopping and restarting your engine. Idling can also damage car engines over time, creating a build-up of carbon which makes them work less efficiently and wear out faster.

Other results from the 2022 survey reveal:

>88% agree that engine idling has a negative impact on air quality

>Just under half (49%) say it has a negative impact on their physical health

>Almost a third (32%) believe their day-to-day activities were affected by the problem

>Nearly two thirds (63%) say that people are not generally aware of the issue

>Idling outside schools and shops were highlighted as the problem areas

Cllr Tracey Wye, executive member for sustainability and climate resilience, said: “Not only does sitting with your engine running create pollution and cost you money, it is also against the law.

“It makes sense to simply turn your vehicle off when stationary if it doesn’t already have stop-start technology. This is especially true near schools where young people are particularly vulnerable to air pollution.

“It was clear from last year’s survey that people want to see us raise awareness of the issues around engine idling before taking any enforcement action. That’s why we have begun this campaign with a message that ‘Every Minute Counts’, reminding people how much damage they are doing to the environment – and to their finances – by not switching off when they are stationary.”