Banners launched at Harlesden primary school to encourage motorists to switch off car engines
PUBLISHED: 15:31 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 09 October 2020
“Don’t choke us to death,” was the message to motorists outside a Harlesden primary school on national Clean Air Day.
Kensal Green councillors and volunteers joined parents at Furness Primary School in Furness Road on Thursday morning (October 8) to encourage drivers to switch off their car engines when dropping off their children - or better still, walk to school.
Cllr Matt Kelcher organised for new “anti-idling” banners at the school gates to help educate drivers about the damage that idling does to young lungs after receiving complaints from parents and neighbours.
Volunteers were on hand to distribute flyers to parents and talk to drivers about why they should switch off their engine when stationary.
The primary school is currently not one of the council’s School Streets, where roads are closed twice a day during peak hours.
Cllr Kelcher said he was pleased people volunteered “to help us spread this positive message on national Clean Air Day”.
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“Idling harms our health, but it especially affects children, who breathe more and at a faster rate than adults,” he added.
“By turning off their engines, drivers can improve the quality of air students and teachers breathe when they arrive at school.
“They can also save themselves money and improve the air they’re breathing in their own car. It’s a no-brainer.
“Long-term exposure to pollution can make us more vulnerable to respiratory diseases – something that it is more important than ever to prevent when coronavirus has spread so rapidly amongst our communities.”
Colin George, who lives on Ridley Road and is a trustee of the neighbourhood forum, said: “It is a good initiative as cars are held up by other cars stopping.
“It will be good to see if some of the School Streets make a difference. There needs to be more physical restraints; you can’t just put up a sign and expect people to obey it.”
Amandine Alexandre-Hughes, founder of Harlesden Climate Action, said she often tells people to switch off their engines. “People use their cars like an office or a lounge and often use their smartphones and tablets. There’s very little awareness of how harmful idling engines are and that needs to change,” she said.
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