Eye catching banners are being installed at primary schools as part of a Dartford Borough Council initiative to educate drivers about air pollution.

The first anti-idling banners are being installed at two locations outside Dartford Primary Academy in the coming weeks, with potential for up to three schools in the borough to use them at any given time.

Schools are daily hotspots for vehicle idling, which is when a vehicle remains stationary unnecessarily for at least a minute. This means children face greater exposure to harmful pollutants than many others just by being picked up and dropped off at school.

Despite the improvements made in air quality over the years, air pollution is still recognised as a risk to health. Exposure to air pollution has health effects at every stage of life, from before birth into old age. The damage is sometimes gradual, and may not be apparent for many years.

The banner will be located at the main entrance on York Road, where there are high numbers of idling vehicle engines.

Leader of the Council Jeremy Kite visited the school on Monday (July 11th) to unveil the banner with pupils from Year 3 and Year 5.

Cllr Kite said: “It’s unavoidable that some parents and carers will have to drive their children to school. But what they can avoid is pumping potentially harmful pollutants outside the school gates.

“We pride ourselves on keeping Dartford’s air clean, despite the challenge caused by traffic on the M25 and A282.

“Encouraging people to switch off their engines whenever possible is a simple way of reducing air pollution. It is the Council’s hope that this message will spread beyond the playground and bring about a positive behavioural change.”

The anti-idling project is just one of many measures that are included in the 2022 Air Quality Action Plan (AQAP) has been produced as part of our statutory duties required by the Local Air Quality Management (LAQM) framework. It outlines the action the Council will take to improve air quality between 2022 and 2027