COVID-19: New call for London’s drivers to turn engines off

A new London-wide campaign, jointly lead by Camden Council has been launched today (Monday 3 August) encouraging businesses to tackle air pollution caused by idling engines.

The Idling Action Project, jointly led by Camden Council and City of London Corporation, and supported by the Mayor of London, has been running since 2016. It sees 30 local authorities and the City of London Corporation joining forces in a bid to cut dangerous vehicle emissions.

Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden
"During lockdown, lots of people said just how much they enjoyed the quieter, low-traffic streets in London. We should learn from this and go further in protecting people’s health by cutting air pollution.

"This starts with cutting out avoidable pollution from engine idling. We are therefore calling on businesses to back our #EnginesOff campaign. We would like businesses to make a public pledge to reduce emissions by asking all fleet drivers and employees to avoid engine idling wherever possible."
Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet member for a Sustainable Camden

The renewed call for action comes amidst emerging evidence that air pollution is linked to poor recovery and higher infection rates of COVID19 due to damage caused to the lungs.

Idling Action’s #enginesoff campaign asks businesses to pledge that their drivers and other employees will not leave their engines on when parked.

In addition to backing the #enginesoff campaign and pledging that its drivers will avoid engine idling wherever possible, the Council has committed to ensuring its fleet is comprised solely of fully-electric, zero-tailpipe-emission capable, and biomethane compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles by the end of 2022.

The fleet already includes 17 electric vehicles, and Camden Careline was the first of the Council’s services to transition to a fully-EV fleet. The Council is a signatory to Global Action Plan’s Clean Van Commitment, and is working to implement requirements for sustainable fleet procurement and driver training for all contractors and service providers.

As part of the #enginesoff pledge, Idling Action is offering London drivers free training and a providing a toolkit of resources to businesses, whose operations involve vehicle fleets, professional drivers, or employees who travel by car to work.

Camden Council’s recycling and waste partner, Veolia operates a fleet of collection and street cleansing vehicles in the borough and has been one of the first businesses to pledge its support for the campaign. Veolia is the UK’s leading resource management company and has been at the forefront of the recycling and waste industry’s move to electric vehicles.

The group wants to arm companies with the knowledge of how best to reduce air pollution caused by vehicles to protect the health of drivers and the public.

"City Hall is happy to support this important pan-London campaign to tackle engine idling.

"Through the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund, we have helped businesses to cut air pollution through Business Low Emission Neighbourhoods and other local schemes, reducing pollution, supporting cleaner vehicles and greener forms of transport. Encouraging businesses to take the #EnginesOff pledge will build on this.

"As London recovers from COVID-19, it’s vital that businesses and other drivers in the capital consider the health of others and take this a simple but vital step towards cutting air pollution."
Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues.

Idling Action has already been running air pollution anti-idling workshops with 40 schools, and speaking with 7,900 drivers to ask them to switch off their engines at regular idling action events throughout the 30 local authorities and the City of London Corporation.

As well as asking businesses to pledge, the partner local authorities own fleets will be taking part in driver training and taking the #enginesoff pledge.

To find out more about the #enginesoff Campaign and sign the pledge, as well as learn more about how the London boroughs are tackling air pollution visit