“Every minute counts” is Central Bedfordshire Council’s message as they launch a campaign urging drivers to switch off their engines when they are stationary.
The campaign comes after the council’s survey last year, which 1,687 people responded to, which revealed almost half of Central Bedfordshire residents believe engine idling has a negative impact on their health.
Leaving a car running while stationary, known as engine idling, reduces air quality and, as emissions stay near the car, those nearest to you are most affected. Exhaust fumes are especially harmful to children, who are closer to car exhaust pipes, and older people who are more likely to have cardiovascular illnesses.
Idle engines are also wasteful because the car is using fuel unnecessarily. Contrary to a common misconception, idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel and gives off more emissions than stopping and restarting your engine. Idling can also damage car engines over time, creating a build-up of carbon which makes them work less efficiently and wear out faster.
Other results from the 2022 survey reveal:
88% agree that engine idling has a negative impact on air quality
Just under half (49%) say it has a negative impact on their physical health
Almost a third (32%) believe their day-to-day activities were affected by the problem
Nearly two thirds (63%) say that people are not generally aware of the issue
Idling outside schools and shops were highlighted as the problem areas.