Liverpool will mark Clean Air Day on Thursday 21 June by educating motorists about the health consequences of leaving car engines running while stationary.
Council officers will be out and about in hot spot areas in the city centre chatting to drivers about the importance of turning off their engines when they are waiting or in queuing traffic.
It is part of a new drive to reduce the air pollution being released into the atmosphere, which has seen a multi-agency task force set up in the city.
Air pollution causes serious health problems, contributing to heart disease and strokes, breathing problems and lung cancer. Drivers are encouraged to turn off their engines if they are going to be stationary for more than one minute.
In 2014/15 there were 292 hospital admissions for asthma among under 19s. The rate of admission in Liverpool was 3rd highest among the core cities after Manchester and Birmingham and significantly above the national rate.
Although the city is not on the Government’s list of areas with the worst emissions, it has six roads with NO2 emissions which will exceed accepted levels being introduced in 2020: Bowring Park (Rocket flyover), Islington (north and south), Dale Street, The Strand (outside Cunard Building) and the front of Lime Street station.
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Air Quality, Councillor James Noakes, said: “Improving the air quality in Liverpool is one of our key priorities.
“There is a clear link between pollution and ill health, so it is vital that we do all we can to ensure the wellbeing of future generations.
“Whether it is turning your engine off when you are waiting for someone or leaving the car at home and walking or taking the bus, every little bit helps.
“We realise that many motorists may not be aware they are committing an offence if they allow their engine to idle unnecessarily when stationary, for example when they are waiting outside of schools.
“We want people to understand that idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air and which contain a number of harmful gases that are linked to asthma and other lung diseases.
“Pollution is everyone’s problem, so we all need to be part of the solution to clear the air.”
Also on Clean Air Day, Merseytravel and City Bike will be in Williamson Square promoting the use of alternatives to using cars such as bus, bike, train or walking.
Other elements of the council’s clean air plan include:
• Plans for more than 100 extra electric vehicle charging points
• Changing the council’s own fleet to make the vehicles which service the city centre diesel free from 2019 and the wider city by 2024
• Reducing traffic congestion in key areas
• Improving the infrastructure to encourage people to walk and cycle more
• Working with the City Region and Merseytravel to increase the number of electric and hybrid buses particularly on key congested routes
• Halting the retro-fitting of less environmentally friendly older engines in Hackney Cabs and working with the trade to move to new electric vehicles
A wider public health campaign around air pollution is planned for later this year.