'Turn it Off' anti-idling campaign relaunches for 2023

Schools can take up the offer of a free banner highlighting the campaign

'Turn it Off' anti-idling campaign relaunches for 2023

Stockport’s schools have put their weight behind a campaign that aims to clamp down on dirty air caused by car exhaust fumes outside their gates.

In December 2020, Stockport Council launched a campaign called ‘Turn it Off’, which urged parents and guardians to turn off their engines when waiting for children at school pick-up times.

Poor air quality is the largest environmental public health issue facing the UK and is estimated to contribute to the equivalent of 1,200 deaths in Greater Manchester each year.

One of the most common places for cars to be left idling is close to schools at drop off and pick up times.

This means school children are being exposed to increased and unnecessary air pollution. Air pollution affects health throughout our life, but it affects children more so as their lungs are still growing.

In March 2019, Stockport Council declared a Climate Emergency and agreed its ambition to become carbon neutral by 2038. This was a cross-party agreement, empowering the council to do its part to combat climate change.

The council built on this and launched its Climate Action Now strategy, which sets out the initial actions that the council will take to make a difference on climate change as it begins its journey to carbon neutral by 2038.

Following the launch in December 2020, almost 30 schools in the borough are now on board with the campaign, with many installing a banner outside the school entrances urging parents and guardians to turn off their engines.

This week Cllr Grace Baynham, Cabinet Member for Highways, Parks and Leisure Services,visited Hazel Grove High School and met with Martin Stewart, Head of the High School, and two members of the school's climate awareness council where the campaign was relaunched for 2023.

As part of the ‘Turn it Off’ campaign, the council is again asking parents to be aware of dirty air close to schools.

The campaign is asking parents and guardians to:
• Switch off their engines at the school gates and on surrounding roads when dropping children off.
• Get their children to catch the school bus if they are able to as it will help to cut down harmful air pollution, and tackle congestion.
• Walk or cycle to school. If parents can, try and leave the car at home and walk or cycle with their children to school. This will also help children be healthy and active growing up and is a great way to avoid the school run.

Cllr Mark Roberts, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, said: “Poor air quality is one of the most detrimental factors to our health and wellbeing.

“This is no more apparent than the air pollution caused by engine idling outside schools.

“It has been fantastic to see schools across the borough get on board with the campaign, but we need everyone to do their bit.

“If your school has yet to pledge its support to our ‘Turn it Off’ campaign, please get in touch with us and let us know. We want to create a healthier environment for all of our children in the borough.”

Cllr Baynham added: “Climate change involves every single one of us making positive changes to protect ourselves and future generations.

“This campaign targets the future of our borough, and we want to make everyone aware of the damage that idling cars can do to our health.”

Cllr Wendy Meikle, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said: “Idling cars outside of school entrances is having a detrimental impact on the health of Stockport’s children.

“Working in partnership with our schools across the borough, we want the message to be clear for parents and guardians – if you are waiting in your car outside school, please turn your engine off.”

For more details visit our Stockport CAN pages.