Local councils say no to vehicle idling

November 6, 2019

Neighbouring councils, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) and Ards and North Down Borough Council, has launched an initiative with local primary schools to stop engine idling outside schools across the two council areas.

‘Engine Off - Prevent the Cough’, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, was launched today at Harmony Hill Primary School, Lisburn, one of 20 primary schools who are taking part in the initiative. The initiative aims to tackle air pollution in and around our schools by educating students, parents and the general public on the effect idling vehicles have on our health.

LCCC has provided participating primary schools with a resource pack, which includes a range of educational materials and resources to help them develop their own no idling project. We hope the campaign will not only result in an improvement to our air quality but also that it will develop Key Stage 2 cross circular skills through; language and literacy, mathematics and numeracy, the world around us and personal development and mutual understanding.

LCCC’s Chair of the Environmental Services Committee, Alderman James Baird, said: “Air pollution harms the health of millions of people worldwide every year, particularly the more vulnerable members of society like children, older people and those with existing health conditions.

“Idling happens when your vehicle engine is running but you’re not moving. For example, when waiting outside a school, at a red light or at roadworks for more than 10-20 seconds.

“We want to educate students and parents about the benefits of not idling and the small things they can do to make a big difference so that the Lisburn Castlereagh area becomes a safer and healthier place to live, work and visit for generations to come.”

Mrs Hilary Johnson, Principal of Harmony Hill Primary School, added: “Participation in this initiative is a great opportunity for our school community to make a positive impact on our local air quality. It also provides pupils with a great opportunity to champion a very worthwhile and relevant topic and develop key cross circular skills while doing it’.

Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery, said: “Air pollution affects us all and idling outside school gates at drop off and pick up means that children are exposed to increased and unnecessary air pollution.  Our no idling campaign is really simple and will help to raise everyone’s awareness of the issue. And, remember, by walking or cycling to school to, we can improve our health through exercise, limit air pollution and lower greenhouse gases and all at the same time. It Is important that we all do our bit to tackle the problem.”

The project is part-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural affairs.

For more information click here.