How Clean Air Day made Starbeck silent

Children from Starbeck School at the junction with their creative posters asking drivers to switch off their engines while idling.
Children from Starbeck School at the junction with their creative posters asking drivers to switch off their engines while idling.

Campaigners said the highlight of the first-ever Clean Air Day in Harrogate was when every driver turned their engine off and there was silence.

Supported by local schools, shops, and community groups, members of campaign group Zero Carbon Harrogate gathered at Starbeck High Street near its unpopular, heavily-congested level crossing.

The aim was to highlight the harm caused by car exhaust fumes at this traffic hotspot and to encourage drivers to switch off their engines while stationary for the sake of people's health and carbon emissions.

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Zero Carbon Harrogate member Victoria Wild said: "The best bit of the day for me was at one point in the afternoon on the Knaresborough side when we realised we had managed to get everyone to turn their engines off.

"It was quiet and you could hear the birds singing. A group of people went past and one of them said "Isn't it wonderful!" It was. "

Part of ZCH’s ‘anti-idling’ campaign supported by Harrogate Borough Council and the Rotary Club, last Thursday's event was well supported.

Victoria Wild said: "We talked to drivers and passers-by about Clean Air Day and the need to turn their engines off.

"Most people were supportive and we were pleased that many of them turned off in response to our presence.

"We also talked to children and parents at Starbeck Primary School at going home time.

"The children had already had an assembly from Jemima Parker and are really aware of the dangers both to their health and to the environment."

The event also received support from Harrogate Borough Council's cabinet member for sustainable travel, Coun Phil Ireland, who took part himself on the day.

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