Working with the Council
Since 2005 some members of our group have been beavering away on our behalf, initially working with a South Oxfordshire District Council Steering Group on Air Quality. Many years later Oxfordshire County Council transport planning officers joined the group.
Progress to make any change has been frustratingly slow, several ideas put forward by our representative members were never acted upon.
The most recent proposals by SODC (as reported in their Outlook update for residents-March 2019,) are to launch a campaign to improve air quality by asking drivers to turn off their engines when the car is stationary. For information on this campaign visit southoxon.gov.uk/turnitoff . Hooray, they have come up with a suggestion we and other Community Action Groups started suggesting to them years ago!
Sustainable Wallingford members took to the High Street in Wallingford , in the rush hour with our banners on 2018 Clean Air Day 21st June. We politely asked people waiting at the two sets of traffic lights to turn off their engines, most people did agree to our request, and of course there were a very few who did not. Overall the action taken by us was received positively.
So if you would like to be involved in this kind of action, perhaps there is now scope to work with SODC. For more detailed information see https://oxfordshire.air-quality.info/location/wallingford
Zoom in to look at the monitoring results for various stations. There is a link to it from the main SODC website: http://www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/environment-and-neighbourhood-issues/air-quality
A local campaign in 2018 to improve air quality in central Wallingford
We took a Deep Breath during the springy month of February…
We all enjoy our busy, lively town but in recent years we knew there was a problem with traffic emissions (specifically ‘NOx’- which also pollutes inside cars) exceeding the permitted limits in the centre.
This was likely not to be the fault of any one group of people but due to the sheer number of vehicles on the road.
A group of residents, businesses and neighbours wanted to try to change in how and when we use our cars, to improve air quality for everyone and encourage others to do the same. We were not focusing on what we couldn’t do (e.g. run out and buy an electric car) but on what we could do right now: more walking, cycling, use of public transport or car-sharing.
We wanted people ‘cutting through’ Wallingford going to and from work to use the bypass instead. We wanted to encourage vehicles to switch off their engines at the traffic lights as much as practical and encourage “no idling”: many people know roughly how long they have to wait and have a car which starts again reliably! We could walk the kids to school to make up for the older or disabled neighbour who needs transport into town to shop. We could all make a difference together.
We asked people to put one of five posters up in their window or school to show support for this campaign.
We hoped people ‘cutting through’ would realise we have a problem and do their bit by not idling or by using the bypass. We ‘Poster Bombed’ the centre for a month so drivers could see one wherever they were sitting in the traffic feeling bored. Schools and libraries in nearby villages were also supportive.
We demonstrated with South Oxfordshire Sustainability in the Market Place and asked drivers idling at the lights to turn off their engines.
We enlisted most of the local schools in a WalktoSchool week, to help improve children’s stamina and confidence, and hep reduce traffic and emissions
We spread the word and made this the year we reduced NOx emissions!