Share this page
Switch off the engine and beat air pollution
Motorists in Malton and Norton are to be asked to switch their car engines off whenever possible in a bid to improve air quality.
Levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas which can lead to respiratory problems, are higher than usual in parts of the centre of Malton, in common with many other locations which suffer from heavy traffic flows.
Now an initiative by the County Council, in partnership with Ryedale District Council, will see the erection of street signs in the Butcher Corner area urging motorists to turn off the ignition whenever possible to reduce NO2 emissions.
"The major problem arises when traffic gets backed up at the Butcher Corner junction by the level crossing gates being closed," said County Councillor Gareth Dadd, executive member for highways.
"Traffic can queue for several minutes, and often drivers don't think to turn off their engines. We hope that by placing signs at strategic points, we will encourage drivers to save fuel for themselves, and improve the quality of air for everyone else."
Councillor Linda Cowling, chairman of Ryedale District Council's Commissioning Board, said: "What many people don't realise is that turning off the engine for only a minute or two can make a big difference to pollution, and it can also have a significant impact on fuel consumption.
"We hope that this initiative, which is part of the Malton Air Quality Action Plan, will help to minimise the impact of additional traffic arising as a result of the diversion caused by roadworks at Brambling Fields. In the longer term, this will also make a contribution to reducing air pollution in the air quality management area."
Most of the nitrogen dioxide in the atmosphere is produced by the burning of fossil fuels, and in urban areas almost all of it is the product of motor vehicle exhausts. The gas inflames the lining of the lungs, and can reduce immunity to lung infections, causing problems such as wheezing, coughing, colds, flu and bronchitis. Increased levels of nitrogen dioxide can have significant impacts on people with asthma.
5 March 2012