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Poster sends clear message to council visitors – ‘stop engine-idling’

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Visitors to Mendip District Council will be encouraged to turn off their vehicle engines while waiting or parked.

‘No engine- idling’ posters are to be displayed in the car park at the council’s offices at Cannards Grave Road, Shepton Mallet.

The driving force behind the poster initiative is cllr Barry O’Leary, portfolio holder for enterprise and finance. It follows a motion he put to members at full council, to explore a number of measures to encourage motorists to turn off their engines when parked.

The motion, which was seconded by cllr Drew Gardner and unanimously supported by members, included ‘no engine-idling’campaigns outside primary schools, with a possible wider roll-out of the scheme to other popular community venues, where there is heavy traffic congestion.

A detailed implementation report will be brought to cabinet in the spring. Unnecessary engine-idling produces harmful emissions which have been linked to bronchitis, asthma and other lung diseases.  Reducing emissions from road transport is an effective way to improve air quality and protect health.

Cllr Barry O’Leary said, “A council should not have to wait until something becomes bad, to set about doing immediate good. The truth is, idling gets you nowhere. It’s bad for health, economically and the environment. I am absolutely thrilled that the whole council backed it too. Putting up posters, putting forward the motion, and taking positive action, means parents, grandparents, friends, carers and children won’t be left unsupported. 

“I hope this will be the first of many moves to help maintain and improve the air quality at key times of day in sensitive areas in towns and villages.”

Cllr Drew Gardner, who is father to an eight year-old said, “Children can breathe in up to three times more air relative to their weight. So it is important we change behaviours, for their sake.” Cllr Heather Shearer, portfolio holder for community health services, agreed saying, “We are about actions, not words. Behavioural change is needed. The posters provide a strong statement, and visual reminder, that the council is committed to improving air quality.”

Mendip recently announced that ‘delivering on our climate and ecological commitment’ was a top priority for the council. Last year, it declared a Climate Emergency, pledging to work towards making Mendip carbon neutral by 2030. Checkout the council’s climate change webpages: www.mendip.gov.uk/climatechange

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