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Don't be idle, switch off your engine and help the environment

Home / Blog / Don't be idle, switch off your engine and help the environment
Head of school Simon Krafft with Ward Cllrs Richard Palmer and Alan Horton, environmental health officer Clare Lydon, and children from Newington CE Primary School.

Local primary school pupils can help reduce air pollution by entering a competition to design a banner to encourage people to switch off their engines outside the school gates.

The competition is being organised as part of Swale Borough Council’s Clean Air for Schools initiative. This aims to highlight the harm caused by motorists not switching off their engines when they are waiting in traffic or outside schools at drop off or pick up times.

Launching on Clean Air Day 2019 (20 June) schools are being asked to come up with a creative design to encourage people to help people think about the damage leaving engines idling.

The best design will be made into a large banner to be displayed outside their school.

Newington Primary School is the first school to sign up to Clean Air for Schools, and pupils will be having a special assembly to get them thinking of ideas for their banners.

Cllr Tim Valentine, cabinet member for environment at the council, said:

“We want everyone to enjoy better air quality and by working with schools on this competition, we think we can encourage cleaner and greener travel.

“Idling engines cause unnecessary emissions, which contribute to air pollution which can be particularly harmful to young children.

“Most people probably don’t realise the harm it does, so we want banners to get people to think about how their actions are affecting others.”

Cllr Eddie Thomas, deputy cabinet member for environment, said:

“When parents and carers drive to school, it’s not just their children they’re dropping off for the day - the fumes from their cars stay too.

“A lot of people don’t want to drive all the way but feel there is no other option.

“We will be working with schools to put together travel plans that make it easier for parents to get their children to school safely, without leaving polluting fumes.”

Any schools interested in taking part in the competition can register their interest at

The Clean Air for Schools initiative has been set up as part of the council’s air quality action plan and aims to work with schools to encourage sustainable travel options and raise awareness of air pollution.


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