New campaign urges London’s drivers: save lives and cut carbon emissions by switching off engines when parked

A London-wide advertising campaign has launched today in a bid to cut air pollution and carbon emissions.

Led by the City of London Corporation and Camden Council, and funded by the Mayor of London, the ‘Engine Off, Every Stop’ campaign features posters, bus rears, and billboards on roadside sites and petrol stations across the capital.

Drivers are also being reached with radio adverts, videos and social media to encourage a change in mindsets and behaviour.

The four-week project, running throughout November, highlights air pollution as an “invisible killer” and a serious danger for many Londoners. Posters reveal the amount of invisible toxic fumes spewed from just a single idling vehicle engine. 

Idling Action London have been raising awareness of idling across London through various activities including holding workshops at 113 schools so far and speaking to over 8000 drivers on the street at idling action events.

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.

It is estimated that every year more than 4,000 Londoners die prematurely from long-term exposure to air pollution*.

Research shows switching off engines when parked also cuts carbon emissions, with a TRL study revealing that one minute of idling by a HGV can release up to 69g of CO2.

Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Environment Committee, Keith Bottomley, said: “This campaign gives London’s drivers a clear call to action to safeguard personal and public health. Switching off is the easiest way to minimise air pollution and cut carbon emissions. With a small change in behaviour Londoners can help save lives and protect the environment.”

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues, said:  “The Mayor of London has just expanded the Ultra Low Emission Zone up to, but not including, the North and South Circular roads which will bring cleaner air to the whole of the capital. But there’s more to be done to reduce pollution to healthier levels. The ‘Engines Off, Every Stop’ campaign is one of the many programmes we’re supporting to reduce emissions such as cleaning up the bus fleet, supporting walking and cycling, and funding Low Emission Neighbourhoods.

“The Mayor is delighted to be funding this campaign which sees the City Hall and London’s boroughs work together to help drivers understand the impact they can have just by switching off their engines when they have stopped.”

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet Member for a Sustainable Camden, said: “During the national lockdowns of the past 18 months, many people realised the benefits of quieter, low-traffic streets in London. We continue to learn from this experience and go further in protecting people’s health by cutting air pollution.

“With the world’s attention focused on Glasgow for the COP26 climate conference, the ‘Engine Off, Every Stop’ campaign focuses on one small carbon-cutting action that all drivers can take to help tackle the climate crisis while also protecting their health – and the health of those around them – from exposure to air pollution.

“We are therefore calling on individuals and businesses to continue to back our ‘Engines Off, Every Stop’ campaign and make a pledge to reduce emissions by avoiding engine idling wherever possible.”

The Engine Off, Every Stop, which is expected to reach over eight million Londoners, is part of the Idling Action London project, which sees 30 London local authorities and the City of London Corporation joining forces to drive down toxic air.

Idling Action London, jointly led by City of London Corporation and Camden Council, is funded by the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund which is tackling idling engines as a source of avoidable air pollution.

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