Don’t be fuelish - switch your engines off and clean up the air

Anti - idling

Air quality champions were out in force in Harrow town centre last week to stop the ‘fuelish’ habit of leaving car engines running when stationary – also known as idling.

The two day event in St Anns Shopping Centre, invited families to play a giant snakes and ladders game to find out what we can all do to help clean up London’s air.  

Volunteers and officers spoke with motorists about the impact of idling, and got more than 200 drivers in Harrow promising to pledge to switch off their engines when stationary. Harrow has joined 11 other London councils to reduce idling and improve air quality as part of a 3 year project funded by the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund.

Air pollution causes nearly 9,500 early deaths in London every year. Children are particularly at risk from poor air quality, and Harrow Council’s idling campaign focuses on parents driving to school. Research has shown that air pollution inside a car can be worse than outside and walking or cycling to school is much healthier than driving.

Cllr Graham Henson, Portfolio holder for Environment, Crime & Community Safety, said:

“Poor air quality is a serious problem in London. It’s both harmful for public health and the environment. So I am proud to be supporting the Mayor of London in tackling the issue to not just make Harrow clean, but importantly improve the lives of our residents and protect our most vulnerable. We will now be working closely with schools and our local communities to encourage drivers to switch off their engines when stationary, and to walk and cycle more.”

Pieter Strombeck, St Anns Centre Manager, said:

“Turning off your ignition when waiting makes the air healthier, helps the environment and saves fuel. This is a great initiative to help raise awareness of air pollution and the risks to our health.  We are delighted to be part of this campaign to tackle air pollution and to improve the quality of air in our local community. It is great to hear that we have had so many pledges to switch off engines from drivers in Harrow!”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and helping to improve your local air quality, you can find out more at:  or emailing