Action on air quality

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News release: 10 September 2018

More than two dozen additional anti-idling signs could be put up around the St Albans District in an effort to improve air quality and people’s health.

Cllr Rowlands beside anti-idling sign
The signs encourage motorists to switch off their engine if stationary for more than a minute. 

They would be located near schools, nurseries, train stations and other sites where there are often high numbers of parked vehicles.

Signs have already been installed by St Albans City and District Council at nine idling hot spots.

These include Romeland Hill near St Albans School, Westminster Lodge coach park, the Civic Centre, several taxi ranks and Batchwood nightclub. 

Enough money remains in the Idling Action St Albans campaign fund to finance a further 27 signs.

One proposal is to give priority to the seven schools closest to the Peahen junction of Holywell Hill, Chequer Street, London Road and the High Street.

Traffic congestion at that site combined with narrow streets and high buildings have caused poor air quality.

Emissions from vehicle engines is a major cause of air pollution that can contribute to respiratory illness, cancer and premature deaths. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable.

The plan to put up new anti-idling signage was discussed at a meeting of the Council’s Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee on Thursday 6 September.

Members backed the proposal which will now be considered by Cabinet member Councillor Frances Leonard, the Portfolio Holder for the Environment.

After the meeting, Councillor Anthony Rowlands, the Committee’s Chair, said; “There was a near unanimous feeling that the signs should be put up as a matter of urgency.

“There is a particular problem of engine idling at schools during pick-up and drop-off times when parents sometimes sit for long periods in their car with the motor running.

“I hope that the schools will take up the offer of the signs as some have been slow to do so in the past. This will give them a great opportunity to engage parents, educating them and their pupils about the dangers of idling.

“There is increasing concern among the community about air quality with so many more cars on the road. It is important that we try to make a difference by highlighting the issue and reducing emissions.”

The Committee heard that air quality is now being monitored at eight new locations in the District, increasing the total number to 43.

Members called for the locations to be displayed on a map on the Council’s website.

To view a full list and the papers for the meeting, please go to

Picture: Cllr Rowlands at a St Peter’s Street anti-idling sign.

Councillor contact: Anthony Rowlands, Chair of the Community, Environment and Sport Scrutiny Committee of St Albans City and District Council. Tel: 07761-232064 Email:

Contact for the media: John McJannet, Principal Communications Officer, St Albans City and District Council, Tel: 01727 296130 , E-mail: