Fuel-ish engine idlers tackled by local Enfield school

George Spicer Primary School on Southbury Road with the support of Enfield Council has pioneered a “Ten Ways in Ten Days” strategy to promote walking to school and more active, healthier forms of travel.

As part of the London-wide Vehicle Idling Action campaign, teachers and students clubbed together to come up with ten reasons why parents and carers should use ‘park and stride’ facilities rather than the polluting and harmful habit of driving as close to the school gates as possible and leaving engines idling while on the school run.

George Spicer came up with several fun and innovative ways to promote their Idling Action Day (27 February), including a Snakes & Ladders information game. In addition, volunteers and Enfield Council officers were out in force at the school gates to advise those collecting children why they should not leave their car engines running.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said: “If every motorist just switched off their engine while waiting for someone it would dramatically improve our air quality and lesson the detrimental impacts of pollution. This relatively minor change in our behaviour, particularly while on the school run, would have a massive impact on our collective carbon footprint.

“I would, of course, also encourage parents and their kids to consider other, more environmentally friendly, methods of travelling to school. For instance, why not walk with a group of friends, cycle or perhaps even scoot? There are simple, easy, changes we can all make to our lifestyles that together would substantially improve Enfield’s air quality.”

Leaving engines running while stationary is an unnecessary source of air pollution. According to research by King’s College London*, air pollution contributes to around 9,500 deaths a year in London. It can also stunt lung growth and affect lung capacity in children. Rule 123 of the Highway Code even states that you must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Children’s Services & Protection, Cllr Ayfer Orhan participated in a game of snakes and ladders with Cllr Anderson and the children. The children then took part in a lively, interactive assembly to explain how they will be supporting Idling Action and how everyone can contribute to healthy, strong communities.

Cllr Orhan said: “I would urge all parents and carers who are responsible for collecting children from school to absorb these strong messages and help support the ‘park and stride’ initiative. Well done George Spicer School.”

*Source: Understanding the health impacts of air pollution in London, Science Policy Group, King’s College London

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