Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution. Health effects can include asthma, reduced lung capacity (latest statistic states that an affected child by the age of 8 could have a loss of 8-10%) and can even impact their brain development.
David Dickie, a member of Henley in Transition is leading the campaign Clean Air for Henley which was launched last year to tackle this serious issue through initiatives and campaigns.
The first campaign, Close the Door asked Henley shops and cafes to keep their doors closed to keep the air pollution out. David said, “Initially the response to this wasn’t great as many retailers said an open door is more inviting to their customers but now we have over 100 shops and cafes in the town displaying the Close the Door sticker including some of the national chains.”
No Idling, turn off your engine is the next campaign for Clean Air for Henley. David joined the No Idling campaign in London last month to learn about best practice. It is running in 16 London Boroughs and is being launched in Reading and Oxford.
David said, “Outside a school in Richmond we approached parents to switch their engines off. All of them did! They then went to a level crossing and did the same. One line of over 40 drivers all complied!”
As well as outside schools, No Idling is calling for car owners to switch off their engines whilst waiting to pick someone up, in traffic queues and at traffic lights. Did you know that leaving your engine on whilst stationary is breaking the law and there is a fine of £80?
The Henley No Idling campaign has been backed by Henley Town Council with a grant of £1,000. The grant will be used to start to get the campaign message out there through signs, leaflets, car stickers and high vis jackets for volunteers who will be out in town over the coming months asking people to turn off their engines.
The campaign still needs further funds to meet the £3,000 total cost of the campaign which would allow the purchase of some superb No Idling Snakes and Ladder large playground games (£350 each) for schools “that capture the pupils imagination and have the knock on effect of the children reminding their parents ” commented David.
A crowdfunding initiative to raise money has been started https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/henleyin-transition If everyone in Henley gave £2 (the price of a coffee), the target would easily be reached.
To keep up to date with latest campaign news go to Clean for Henley Facebook Group