The RAC has launched a new campaign, encouraging drivers to turn off their engines to improve air quality outside of schools.
The RAC describes engine idling, as it’s commonly known, as a widespread problem – pointing to a survey in which 88% of respondents said they regularly or occasionally see other drivers parked at the side of a road with their engine still running.
According to the RAC survey, 30% of the vehicles seen idling are in towns and cities – with 26% spotted outside schools.
As a result, the RAC has launched a new campaign – encouraging schools to purchase ‘School Clean Air Zone’ banners.
The banner, which costs £60 including delivery and VAT, urges drivers to ‘show they care about our air’.
The RAC says while it may be some time before more councils start getting tough with idling drivers, schools can now draw attention to the issue themselves by purchasing a banner.
Awareness and sensitivity to the issue growing ‘significantly’
The RAC describes the issue of idling outside of schools as ‘emotive’ – and has previously labelled enforcement of the issue as ‘non-existent’.
In March, Public Health England laid out a series of UK-wide recommendations to cut air pollution – including a ban on cars idling outside school gates.
Meanwhile in July, the Government announced it was setting its sights on toughening up rules on vehicle idling, with heavier fines for drivers.
At the time, the DfT said vehicle idling is a major factor in poor air quality, particularly in areas where there are large numbers of stationary vehicles.
The new plans – which would represent the biggest change to the rules since 2002 – will also provide guidance to local authorities on their anti-idling powers, enabling them to enforce the law more effectively.
According to the RAC survey, awareness and sensitivity to the issue has grown ‘significantly’ – with more than half of those questioned (55%) saying they are more concerned about the impact vehicle emissions have on the environment than they were three years ago.