Even the smallest steps can help improve our air quality - and that's the aim of Herts county council for this year's Clean Air Day.

As part of the national initiative on Thursday June 16, HCC is looking for volunteers who are keen to help them improve air quality in the county.

No Idling events will be held by volunteers from communities, businesses or councils, targeting hotspots all over the county, where drivers will be asked to switch off their engines when they are parked for over a minute.

Idling is an unnecessary source of pollution and according to research by King’s College London, community events such as these can have a positive impact on air pollution levels.

Local Air Quality Champion volunteers will receive before-event training on:

  • Air pollution and health;

  • The approach to use when talking to drivers;

  • How to be persuasive in a short amount of time; and

  • How to respond to drivers’ possible reasons for idling.

  • H&S and support on risk assessment/necessary paperwork submissions.

At the event:

  • Comms support;

  • Printed flyers, high-vis and other support as requested

Pairs of volunteers will then hit the streets to engage with drivers and ask them to switch off their engines to help to improve local air quality.

HCC will also hold a no-obligation information session via Zoom on Thursday May 12 at 8pm.

Matthew Clark, the programme manager for air quality in the sustainable growth and public health department at HCC said: “We all need clean air to stay healthy. Air pollution has affects the on every part of the body. There is no safe level under which no effect is felt with some more vulnerable than others, for example our children. Air pollution is the environmental factor with the biggest impact on health in the UK and Hertfordshire is no exception.

“Clean Air Day offers an opportunity to engage with people about how we can all influence our surroundings by considering taking measures to reduce our pollution footprint and/or reduce our exposure to harmful pollutants. The national focus created on Clean Air Day creates the opportunity for anyone to mark the occasion and be part of a bigger movement across the county and across the nation.

“By creating a focus on idling this Clean Air Day we are looking to open up discussion around idling and linked subjects such as promoting cycling and walking. HCC will be taking these themes forward through a part DEFRA funded communications campaign later in the year with messaging running through to Clean Air Day 2023. By working with partners and communities we aim to create changes for the better making Hertfordshire a cleaner, greener, healthier county in which to live work and play.”

To know more about the Zoom sessions or register to take part, please email helen.burridge@eastherts.gov.uk