Engine Off - Prevent the Cough!

Monday 11th November 2019

Ards and North Down Borough Council, together with Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council (LCCC), has launched an initiative with local primary schools to stop engine idling outside schools across the two council areas.

Council says no to engine idling

‘Engine Off - Prevent the Cough’, the first of its kind in Northern Ireland, was launched last week at Harmony Hill Primary School, Lisburn, as well as Sullivan Upper Preparatory Department, Holywood. They are just two of 20 primary schools that are taking part in the initiative that aims to tackle air pollution in and around our schools by educating students, parents and the general public on the effect idling vehicles have on our health.

The councils have provided participating primary schools with a resource pack, which includes a range of educational materials and resources to help them develop their own no idling project. The campaign will not only result in an improvement to our air quality but it will also develop Key Stage 2 cross curricular skills through language and literacy, mathematics and numeracy, ‘the world around us’ as well as personal development and mutual understanding.

The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Alderman Bill Keery, said:

“Air pollution affects us all and idling outside school gates at drop off and pick up means that children are exposed to increased and unnecessary air pollution. Our no idling campaign is really simple and will help to raise everyone’s awareness of the issue. And by walking or cycling to school, we can improve our health through exercise, limit air pollution and lower greenhouse gases all at the same time. It is important that we all do our bit to tackle the problem.”

LCCC’s Chair of the Environmental Services Committee, Alderman James Baird, said: “Air pollution harms the health of millions of people worldwide every year, particularly the more vulnerable members of society like children, older people and those with existing health conditions.

“Idling happens when your vehicle engine is running but you’re not moving. For example, when waiting outside a school, at a red light or at roadworks for more than 10-20 seconds.

“We want to educate students and parents about the benefits of not idling and the small things they can do to make a big difference so that the Lisburn Castlereagh area becomes a safer and healthier place to live, work and visit for generations to come.”

The project is part-funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural affairs. For more information, visit ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk/no-idling.

Photograph: Back row - Gareth Kinnear (Environmental Health Manager, Ards and North Down Borough Council), Alderman Bill Keery (Mayor of Ards and North Down), Mrs E A Smith (Head of Prep) and Mr C Peel (Principal) with students at Sullivan Upper Prep School. (Image: Ian Pedlow)