An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion

Social Democrats Climate Spokesperson Jennifer Whitmore has today launched legislation to ban car idling at schools.

“Idling cars are bad for the environment, public health and people’s pockets. This is why I am launching legislation today that will ban cars idling at schools, a measure which supports attempts already under way in many schools to stop this harmful practise.

“Most of us will have experienced the traffic gridlock that surrounds the approach to schools, when children are dropped off and collected, but what we may not be aware of is that idling cars do a ­disproportionate amount of environmental damage.

“An idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion and international studies have found that idling for over ten seconds uses more fuel and produces more carbon dioxide than restarting your engine.

“This means that the air quality around schools can be especially poor – posing a threat to children, who are particularly susceptible to health risks caused by air pollution. For example, Ireland has the fourth highest prevalence of asthma worldwide and studies have shown that air pollution can cause asthma in young children.

“Banning car idling at schools is one way to make a simple, and environmentally friendly, decision that can have an immediate and positive impact on communities. It will not only benefit children, and the wider school community, but help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate change.

“This legislation, alone, will not be enough. Supporting children to cycle and walk to school, by making our streets safer and installing proper cycling infrastructure that separates cyclists from traffic, will also be key to improving air quality around our schools.

“As it stands, an easy way to instantly improve air quality at schools, and on our traffic-choked roads, would be for car idling to become a thing of the past.

“Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have both previously said they would support a ban on car idling, so I am hopeful of cross-party support for this Bill so that it can be enacted quickly.”

16 November, 2021


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