The permanent signs use a design created by The Gold Brush, an art group from Bishop’s Stortford, who won a competition run during the council’s Clear Air Day campaign in 2020.
Transport is the single largest contributor to carbon emissions across East Herts, which also has a big impact on air quality, especially in congested areas. The aim of the signage is to decrease engine idling around the district in car park idling hot-spots. Their installation will run alongside a Clean Air Day campaign that promotes advisories such as; 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than re-starting and just 2 minutes of idling creates unnecessary emissions & uses up enough fuel to drive a mile.
The Hertfordshire Growth and Transport Plans for East Herts identified that 63% of all car trips in the District are less than 5 miles. A significantly larger proportion of journeys are less than 2 miles and only 6% of people cycle to work if they live in the same town.
Active Travel, such as walking and cycling, is detailed as being of high importance for improving traffic flow across the district, carbon emissions and air quality as well as benefitting community health and wellbeing. Changing car usage and idling behaviour, especially in car parks and around schools, is also high on EHDC’s priorities.
EHDC have been working closely with Sawbridgeworth Town Council and local residents' group Sustainable Sawbridgeworth on this and other air quality initiatives such as providing anti-idling posters to schools and posters in shop windows.
Councillor Graham McAndrew, executive member for environmental sustainability at EHDC said, “I’m really pleased that we were able to work on this initiative alongside Sawbridgeworth Town Council. Now that Covid-19 restrictions are lifting there are increasing numbers of vehicles on the road and it is a great time to change old habits.”
EHDC were one of the first non-metropolitan districts to launch a Clean Air Day campaign back in 2017 and has been actively campaigning on and between Clean Air Days since.
Councillor Greg Rattey, Mayor of Sawbridgeworth said, “As Mayor I greatly support Clean Air Day and East Herts District Councils involvement in it. Clean Air Day brings our schools and communities together. Together we can all improve our understanding of air pollution and the sometimes simple changes that can be made to improve our environment. Let’s work together and make this happen.”