Drivers urged to turn off engines in Colchester for Clean Air Day to help reduce pollution

The council says there were significant improvements in Colchester's air quality during lockdown. Credit: PA

A new campaign has been launched in Colchester for 'National Clean Air Day' to help reduce pollution levels in the town.

Drivers are being encouraged to switch off their engines at traffic lights, level crossings or outside schools.

Clean Air Day is a nationwide campaign which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of air pollution.

Among the residents worried about pollution in the town is Eleanor, who lives on East Hill with her young family.

"I am constantly worried about the quality of our air, particularly when cars are queuing outside our house with their engines running", she said.

"The air even tastes bad and we must keep our windows closed at home. If everyone made one small change by switching off their engines while waiting, it would make a huge difference to the air that we all breathe."

Research found 41% of people in Colchester think the town is highly polluted

The campaign, named 'CAReless POLLUTION' will run until May 2021 and is urging drivers to adopt better driving habits, to reduce the risks associated with breathing in polluted air.

A survey by Colchester Borough Council found only 15% of drivers regularly switch off their engine when their car is stationary. 

New road signs will be put up around Brook Street and the East Street level crossing from November to remind drivers to switch off their engines.  

"During lockdown there were significant improvements in Colchester's air quality and local people are being encouraged to keep up positive habits to support their health" Councillor Martin Goss said.

"This could include switching from car driving to cycling and walking, as well as adopting new helpful driving habits by switching off their car engines when stationary which has been proven to reduce pollution by up to 30%."