A CAMPAIGN asking drivers to cut their engines while stationary to improve air quality in Colchester has hit one year since it launched.

The CAReless Pollution campaign asked residents to switch off while at traffic lights, level crossings or near schools.

The anniversary comes as new figures have now revealed one in 20 deaths in Colchester are linked to pollution.

Colchester Council has warned a major factor of pollution in the town is due to vehicle emissions.

A poll run by the Gazette has now revealed Colchester residents are still reluctant to switch-off their engines in a bid to combat air pollution.

51 per cent of readers said they “never” turn-off their car while stationary, with 19 per cent saying they “sometimes” did.

14 per cent of respondents said they switch-off their engine “most of the time” and 16 per cent revealed they “always” did.

The results show an improved shift of attitude in comparison to a poll launched by the Gazette when the campaign started in October last year.

In 2020, despite concerns from residents, 61 per cent of readers said they wouldn’t switch-off their engine while idling.

Adam Cardy, a taxi driver, said: “I drive a taxi from Clacton to a school in Colchester every day. My engine is always off when stationary, usually on Southwest, then Lexden Road up to Stanway. Waste of diesel otherwise.”

Abbie Shannon added: “Yes [I turn my engine off] at long traffic lights and level crossings. I try to remember to. I couldn’t not have a car, but there’s still ways like this to help cut the pollution a bit.”

However, Daniel Son Shelley said traffic-flow measures need to be improved to help make a difference.

“There wouldn't be this problem if roads and traffic lights were designed better to keep traffic flowing,” he said.

“Couple that with people that just sit forever at junctions waiting for a written invitation, or not sitting on the traffic light nodes so the system knows you're there.”

As the oldest Roman town in Britain, Colchester has many narrow roads in the town centre. The buildings form a canyon-like environment which can trap air pollutants.

Within the town there are three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) where pollution levels exceed national guidelines.

The AQMAs cover the town centre and the residential areas of Brook Street, Magdalen Street and the lower end of Mersea Road.

Other areas of concern include East Hill and Military Road.