Change Makers to drive down pollution during Cleaner Air Action Fortnight

100 Change Makers will be out at air pollution hotspots across six central London boroughs on the 9th and 16th March to ask drivers to turn off their engines when parked in a bid to drive down air pollution.

The initiative, which harnesses the power of local residents and workers to drive change, is being led by Cross River Partnerships’ Clean Air Better Business programme which is supported through the Mayor’s Air Quality fund. The initiative is in collaboration with Social Enterprise Mark holder Global Action Plan, the UK’s leading environmental behaviour change charity and Kings College London University.

Global Action PlanThe campaign aims to reduce Londoners’ exposure to air pollution by educating drivers about air quality. Wearing hi-vis Air Quality Champion vests, the Change Makers will explain the role of drivers in reducing vehicle emissions and ask parked drivers to turn their engines off. They will be also given informational leaflets to help them understand their role in making the air we breathe healthier for all Londoners. Vehicle emissions emit pollutants which are linked to asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and cancer. The long term impact of pollution particularly affects pregnant women and children.

 “Cross River Partnership’s Clean Air Better Business programme aims to draw awareness both to the issue of air quality in general and specifically the impact that idling can have on local air quality. This concerted effort across our participating Business Improvement District and boroughs is designed to build capacity in training up to 100 change makers and have a beneficial effect on air quality in these areas” explained Uto Patrick, CRP Air Quality Champion.

Caroline Watson, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan, said“Cleaner Air Action Fortnight aims to educate drivers on the role they can play in improving London’s air quality.  Given the impact on our health, this is an urgent issue that demands collective action.  By arranging Cleaner Air Action Fortnight across six boroughs we aim to draw attention to a problem that is costing Londoners their health and the economy £3.7bn p.a.*”

Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council cabinet member for parking and sustainability, said: “Engine idling is a major problem in London and is a priority for the council to help address air pollution. It is common sense that turning off your engine is good for air quality and the environment, but it also makes financial sense for drivers. That is why I am pleased that so many Change Makers are joining me in Westminster to get out onto the streets and ask drivers to switch their engines off.”

The scheme is part funded by the Mayor of London’s £20 million Air Quality Fund (MAQF), which has granted £330,000 to the Clean Air Better Business project. The Mayor’s funding has enabled them to deliver a whole host of air quality projects such as this across central London over the last three years.

Matthew Pencharz, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: “Protecting the well-being of Londoners is vital and projects such as this, coupled with the Mayor’s plans for the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2020, are part of the bold measures we need to win London’s pollution battle.”

For more information please visit the Global Action Plan website.


* House of Commons Briefing Paper May 2015: Public expenditure by country and region 2013-14, London £9,866 per head.  Figure based on population of 8,633,000 Londoners.