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Woodbridge Town Council – Report from the Climate & Ecological Emergency Committee, CEEc

I’m proud to introduce the CEEc with just a few words: we plan to offer a monthly report. This one is called “No idling around here”. Reasons will become apparent if you read on.

This committee, CEEcommittee, is unique within our town council in that it is made up of both elected councillors and townspeople. We agreed and we share an inspiring mission statement! We work well together on various ‘working parties’ to address the specific challenges that are of particular interest to us.

And we have not been idling around here!  During our 3 years we have: rewilded, conferenced, networked, attended trainings, worked to find space for growing food, worked on creating cycle hire scheme, checking pollutant levels in local waters, planted trees and much more

There are always more emerging initiatives to take – this month, in our first report to the local newspapers, we are launching a “No idling around here” initiative.

Below is how the IDLING working party have expressed it: Let’s see if we can do it – bring about a local cultural change for the sake of the future, let’s see if we can do it before the children go back to school?

CAR IDLING

We can all help reduce air pollution in and around Woodbridge by turning off our car engines when stationary – for example, when waiting for children outside schools. And we can save money too!

According to the RAC motoring organisation, idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. These fumes contain a number of harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide (which is bad for the environment and contributes towards climate change), and others including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons which are linked to asthma and other lung diseases. There are also particulates which are bad for our lungs – especially for children. The Royal College of Physicians estimate 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with engine idling contributing to this.

The average car uses over two litres of fuel an hour when idling which at current prices equals nearly £4.

It is also illegal under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The act enforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code, which states: “You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road”.

It seems that there is a belief that you can park on a yellow line if you leave the engine running. This is a complete myth – you can get a parking ticket and could be fined for idling as well!

With modern engines and batteries, idling makes for more wear on the engine (not less, as is sometimes thought). And your heater or aircon will run perfectly well without the engine on for about half an hour!

So when waiting in your car or popping into a shop – save money, save the environment, save health, and switch it off!

Woodbridge Town Council’s Climate & Ecological Emergency Committee, Transition Woodbridge and Churches Together

Councillor Martin Wilks, chair, CEEc