The London borough of Tower Hamlets has launched a campaign – ‘Breathe Clean’ – aimed at raising awareness of issues relating to air pollution.
As part of the campaign, the council is working with the NHS, Transport for London (TfL) and environmental groups to encourage drivers to switch off their engines when stopped near schools.
Other actions will include the introduction of green spaces in areas of high pollution, the council says, as well as improving the take-up of sustainable transport.
Air pollution levels in Tower Hamlets are the fifth worst of any London borough, the council claims, and exceed EU air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide pollution.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “We’re one of the best boroughs in London for transport connections. We need use those sustainable connections to reduce pollution levels, improve the environment and make Tower Hamlets a healthier place to live, work and visit.”
Councillor Rachel Blake, Cabinet Member for Environment, added: “Some of the worst air quality in Tower Hamlets is in our more deprived areas and so the council has an ambitious plan to get air quality within legal limits.
“Our campaign to Breathe Clean encourages everyone to make a change to improve air quality in the borough.”
Among the initiatives taking place to mark the campaign, residents have been invited to free workshops this month, where they will be given wearable technology, such as jackets and gloves, that measure air quality on journeys around the borough.
The council is also encouraging residents to make use of a discount available for the use of Santander Cycle Hire memberships, which are being offered at a 50% reduced rate for residents of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Islington.
Council officers will also be raising awareness of the impact of engine idling, by asking drivers to switch off their vehicles when stopped.
Vehicle idling is an offence against the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002. The law states that is an offence to idle your engine unnecessarily when stationary.