Turn off your engine plea to drivers at Suffolk level crossings

Car at level crossing

The campaign is designed to cut air pollution near level crossings. - Credit: Greater Anglia

A new campaign is to be launched aimed at persuading drivers to switch off their vehicle engines while waiting at level crossings in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Greater Anglia, Network Rail, the Community Rail Network and the region’s six community rail partnerships are launching the campaign on Thursday asking people to ‘Switch it off’ at level crossings.

The campaign will see the organisations taking to social media and working with communities to raise awareness locally with posters and car window stickers funded by Community Rail Network.

They will be supported by Greater Anglia’s team of 260 volunteer station adopters.

An idling engine can produce up to twice the emissions of a car in motion, churning out sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide. These contribute to asthma, heart disease and even lung cancer . 

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There are over 800 level crossings in East Anglia which are used by thousands of vehicles every day. One car idling at a level crossing could fill up to150 balloons per minute with exhaust fumes.

Sandy Burn, who volunteers at Westerfield station, said: “When you get a queue of cars and they are all running their engines on a small street surrounded by houses, it is extremely unpleasant in terms of the nasty fumes and the noise.

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"It would be wonderful if people could take note of the campaign and be more considerate of those around them when they are sitting in traffic. It may not seem worth switching off the engine just for a few seconds, but I can assure them it really would make a huge difference.”

Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “We know that air pollution is a concern for residents living near our level crossings because they’ve contacted us about it.

“I’m really pleased that we’re working together with Greater Anglia and the rail partnerships to combat this issue and improve the lives of those who live near our crossings.”

Greater Anglia’s managing director, Jamie Burles said, “We are working really hard to become ever more sustainable.

“But when our volunteers came to us asking for help with issues caused at level crossings, we knew we could go further and were only to happy to join with Network Rail, the Community Rail Network and our community rail partnerships to support them in raising awareness of this problem.”

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