For hundreds of thousands of UK children, travelling on busy roads when pollution is at its highest is unavoidable. They live on or near a busy road. Their nursery/school is on or near a busy road. Parts, if not all of their journey to school is along traffic congested roads.
Most of these children walk to nursery or school. Many travel by bus and wait at kerbside bus stop shelters with diesel HGVs, coaches, trucks, vans and cars stopping idling and accelerating right next to them.
Babies in buggies and young children are closer to the vehicle exhaust and breathe higher concentrations of toxic fumes. Travelling to nursery and school is arguably the time of a child’s greatest exposure to outdoor air pollution that can stunt the growth of their developing lungs.
What is being done to immediately and significantly reduce pollution levels on the routes and at the time children travel to school? . What is being done to protect young children directed to wait at kerbside bus stop shelters?
This is our battle ground and every day our little ninjas are fighting for their future health.
We’re identifying those responsible for safety on the roads children walk along and at the bus stop shelters they wait at. We’re asking them three questions:
1. Why they allow vehicles to repeatedly brake and accelerate (40 times a mile) when we know that this increases non-exhaust emissions (tyre wear, brake wear, road surface wear) which accounts for a large proportion of particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) emissions from traffic.
2. Why they allow vehicles to idle for ten minutes per mile when we know that an idling vehicle produces up to twice the exhaust of a moving vehicle. Emissions from restarting a vehicle three or four times is a fraction of the emissions from a vehicle idling for ten minutes.
3. Why they allow vehicles to brake, idle and accelerate next to children waiting at kerbside bus stop shelters when we know that traffic exhaust stunts the growth of children’s lungs.
These are the questions we are asking Wandsworth Council and TfL concerning West Hill in Wandsworth.
We’ve requested that when traffic is heavily congested, TfL hold vehicles at red traffic lights for two to three minutes until the section of road ahead is clear to drive on. This will dramatically reduce the number of times each vehicle brakes / accelerates and provide drivers with clear opportunities to switch their vehicle’s engines off rather than idle.
We’ve requested they use a one mile section of West Hill in Wandsworth as a pilot to find out if reducing start-stop-idling significantly reduces local pollution levels and to see if keep clear type road markings can reduce idling and exhaust concentrations at kerbside bus stop shelters.
If you think these are good ideas or at least worthy of a pilot, then please show your support on Twitter @LittleNinjaUK #StartStopIdling #NO2idling and by signing our petitions below: