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Plumcroft Primary School, engine idling

By James Twomey

Children from a primary school took to the streets to educate their parents and other drivers about idling engines and their impact on local air quality.

The children of Plumcroft Primary School in Plumstead were joined by trained adult volunteers, as well as Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald, cabinet member for air quality, transport and public realm, and were outside the school gates ready to approach parents who kept their engines running while waiting.

Andrew Greenwald, reception class teacher at Plumcroft Primary School, said: “We really enjoyed working together with Greenwich council to take on the issue of air pollution in our local area. We have been encouraging children to walk, cycle or ride a scooter to school rather than use a car.

“There’s often traffic jams and a lot of idling cars parked at pick-up time on the roads around our school, and we’ve been looking at ways to address these problems.

“The anti-idling campaign fits very well with our overall effort to make our students’ journeys to and from school healthier, safer and more environmentally conscious.”

The campaign is working to educate motorists, inviting them to join the campaign and switch off their engines. Plumcroft Primary School is working with Greenwich council as part of the London-wide Vehicle Idling Action behaviour change campaign in the hope of reduce emissions in the surrounding area.

Reducing emissions and addressing current levels of nitrogen dioxide air pollution are needed to improve air quality, particularly relating to the streets around schools.

Vehicle Idling Action says it has conducted air quality monitoring at its events and when stood next to an idling vehicle, pollution levels were about 10 times higher than the average air pollution levels during that event.

Greenwich council plans to introduce initiatives such as car free days – which encourage motorists to leave their car at home for one day in busy locations across the borough – and Low Emission Areas for major regeneration sites as well as upgrading vehicle fleets to reduce pollution contribution.

Cllr Denise Scott-McDonald said: “The more people we can educate about the impact that engine idling has on our health and the environment – the better. These action days are a great way to make you think about small steps we can take every day to improve our local air quality.

“Special thanks should go to the school children for their enthusiasm about this critical issue which will help us drive this message home.”

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