Stop idling


Gillian Risbridger writes to ask if Bath Newseum could give ‘Bath living Streets’ a shout and also mention their role in a campaign to help cut pollution and improve air quality in Bath.

She would like people to come and support the anti-idling initiative aimed at encouraging drivers to turn off their engines when parked. The next action day takes place on Saturday 28 April at 10.15am at the YMCA in Bath.

Gillian – who is the campaign organiser – writes; “Idling – running a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion – increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. The anti-idling initiative is organised by Bath Living Streets, a UK charity for everyday walking. 


The first action day in March was a great success. After a short training session, volunteers – called Bath Clean Air Champions – went out to engage with drivers in the centre of Bath.

Fifty percent of the idling drivers that volunteers spoke with turned off their engines. Many were surprised to learn that idling their engines needlessly contributes to air pollution, and that idling while parked is actually illegal.”


Local parent Lily Hughes, a member of the Living Streets group, joined the first event, which was held in March. She explained that: “As a mother of two, I’m hugely concerned about air pollution in our beautiful city. When walking with the children we are frequently aware of breathing in fumes from both moving traffic and parked cars with engines running needlessly. We all have a responsibility to do something about this and so I’m joining the Bath Clean Air Champions.”


group photo terrace walk
A group of Bath Clean Air Champions – including Rachel with her arm on the post!


The campaign to cut pollution and improve air quality is also supported by local business owner and top vegetarian chef, Rachel Demuth. Rachel, whose cookery school is based at Terrace Walk, said: “I’m joining the Bath Clean Air Champions as we must all help reduce air pollution in our beautiful, heritage city. The more volunteers we get on board, the greater the momentum and success of this incredibly important campaign.” 

Bath and North East Somerset Council (BaNES) has been monitoring the air quality in Bath for several years. It currently operates seven continuous monitoring sites, providing live data on various pollutants. The city has been identified by government as an area where nitrogen dioxide levels are projected to exceed national air quality objectives beyond 2021. Current pollution levels regularly exceed EU legal limits by 50% or photo terrace walk

Gillian continues: “Now is the time to act. We’re thrilled local businesses are backing us, but we need lots more volunteer champions to help spread the word.

Idling your engine for longer than 30 seconds wastes fuel, is detrimental to your health and unnecessarily adds to pollution levels in Bath. Our campaign will help raise awareness in pollution hotspots, and by engaging with people help to change behaviour and improve local air quality.”

If you’d like to get involved with the Bath Clean Air campaign, why not attend one of the group’s anti-idling events? They’re taking place at the YMCA, Bath on Saturday 28th April at 10.15am and Thursday 24th May at 10.15am and 2pm.

For more information, and to sign-up, visit or send an email to

For your further information.

Living streets is a UK-wide organisation that wants to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice. Find out more about them:


The No Idling campaign in Bath was inspired by similar campaign set up in London. Vehicle Idling Action is a London-wide behaviour change campaign which is helping to reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists who leave their engines running when parked. This campaign is supported by the mayor of London. Find out more: