Campaign to urge parents to stop idling on school run

Launched to coincide with Clear Air Day on Thursday [June 20] the Council’s Environmental Health team’s anti-idling initiative aims to encourage motorists in traffic, or otherwise stationary, to switch off their engines especially outside school gates.


The campaign, which is being done in partnership with Maidstone and Swale Borough Councils, will include placing posters and banners designed by school children at key locations across the borough.

Last year the council ran a schools competition asking pupils to design anti-idling banners. The two winning designs, created by pupils from Year 4 at St Mark’s Primary School, have been made up into full size banners which will go on display outside the school. 

Barbara Cobbold, councillor for Broadwater said: “Air pollution is something that affects all of us. By taking simple steps such as switching off your engine when possible, we can all help improve the air quality for everyone. 

“Congratulations to the pupils of Year 4 at St Mark’s for their fantastic designs which I am sure will encourage drivers not to idle when they are waiting outside the school.” 

She added that one of the most common places for cars to be left 

idling is outside school gates at drop off and pick up, and this means some of the most vulnerable in the community are being exposed to increased and unnecessary air pollution.

Idling a car – leaving the engine running when you are not moving – has been illegal since 2002, but recent emphais on air quality means local authorites are now getting tougher on idling cars.

Drivers who ar caught face a £20 fixed penalty notice.

Air pollution is linked to an estimated 36,000 premature deaths a year in the UK, according to campaign group, Friends of the Earth.

Steve Walter, who lives near St John’s Road in Tunbridge Wells and is a member of the environmental group, said: “We welcome this. Quite often our members see  people outside schools with their engines running, so it is great that the council has got involved.”

He continued: “Lung development in children is affected by pollution, as are people with asthma, and the long term effects can include cancer.”

Mr Walter added that while the move was welcomed, he would like the council to do more.

“One thing that would help would be a park and ride scheme for the town, and while we are doing okay on cycle paths, we could always do with more of them.”

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