Buzz off: Extinction Rebellion to protest against idling drivers

A swarm of bees will land in Wallington high street on Saturday morning to demand reducing emissions by eliminating unnecessary car journeys and idling.

The bees, who are actually friendly rebels from Sutton’s Extinction Rebellion group, have been roused from their hive by the actions of a few inconsiderate drivers who leave their engines running while parked.

The actions of these few drivers have a major negative impact on Sutton borough’s air quality.

“It’s time for idling cars to buzz off,” according to one of the Sutton XR group.

The Mayor of London estimates that nearly 6,000 deaths are caused by air pollution in London. Globally, outdoor air pollution cuts three years from life expectancy. A 2016 study by Transport for London showed that drivers turning off their engines when parked can reduce “black carbon”, an exhaust pollutant linked to lung and heart disease, by up to 36 per cent.

Last year, the Wallington air quality monitoring station on Woodcote Road recorded NO2 levels above legal limits.

XRSutton will be staging their protest this Saturday

“Car travel is responsible for 25 per cent of CO2 emissions in Sutton and leaving your car’s engine running while parked – idling – is a major contributor to vehicle pollution and one that’s easily preventable,” said the XR spokesperson.

Eliminating idling is particularly crucial around Sutton’s schools. Children breathe in more of the poisonous exhaust fumes, leading to higher rates of childhood asthma and other breathing illnesses.

Drivers of idling cars are also unwittingly putting themselves in danger. When a car’s engine is left running while parked, the cabin fills with carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, two deadly gasses. Cutting the engine protects drivers and their passengers.

The XR spokesperson said, “Sutton residents can raise their concerns about air quality and other environmental issues during Sutton Council’s climate emergency consultations.”

The consultation events can be found by clicking this link.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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10 Responses to Buzz off: Extinction Rebellion to protest against idling drivers

  1. Lewis White says:

    Thanks for featuring this topic. I recently saw a man asleep in a car outside a school, with his engine running. Another example I experienced when I was doing some repair work in my church car park. The agreement is that parents are welcome to park there, so that they can walk the 1/4 mile to the local school, to drop off or pick up their children. Great idea, the children and parents get some exerciseand fresh air, whilst sparing the residents who live next to the school from even more cars and pollution.

    The woman parked, engine running, then opened her tail gate of her 4 x 4, spent about 10 minutes fiddling around rearranging the contents of the boot. After 10 minutes I finally went up and asked her to think about the pollution, the children and the environment, and please could she turn the engine off ? Oh sorry! she said, I forgot. I then saw that inside the car was a baby in a carry cot , facing backwards towards the open tail gate, who had been exposed all this time to the NO2 and other cocktail of gases and heavy metals given off by her 2000 cc (or more) engine. If I am not in Victor Meldrew anger man mode, I often ask people to do so, adopting the friendly, shambolic cow type of dissarming approach where they think I am an annoying but harmless mad professor / eco nutter. It usually works. I have a success rate of around 6 in 7. Most people are friendly and tun off.. The other 1 is probably when I am in a surpressed anger mode, which probably comes through the friendly cow act. They are perhaps mind readers, seeing through the ask and seeing the superglue spray on their windscreen , wrecking bar in their engine images that run through my enviro-saviour mind. Good job I go to church and pray for forgiveness for thse angry visions!
    I pray that God will soon raise up a scientist who captures a non-polluting fuel that does not involve destroying yet more forests for soya or palm oil, maize, rape seed or other bio fuel.

    I asked a local PCSO if they ever ask people to turn off their engines…….and I asked him if there was a law forbidding it. They don’t. He didn’t think so. But thought it would be a good idea if there were.

    I have not Googled the topic–I wonder if Inside Croydon could tell us whether there is a law banning idling when parked?.

    If there ain’t , there flippin’ well should be.

  2. Ron West says:

    While it’s essential that we cut down hard on pollutants like Carbon Monoxide and Nitrous Dioxide, anyone who has done the most basic Biology knows that Carbon Dioxide is the Gas of Life, since it is what plants ‘breathe’ as part of photosynthesis.

    The current atmospheric level of 400ppm is only (at most) a third of the level that plants need to grow optimally, which is why most commercial growers pump CO2 into their greenhouses to bring the level up to 1200-1500ppm.

    On the other hand, if the atmospheric CO2 level were brought down to just half the present value, only 200ppm, most plant life virtually halts with the extinction of all dependent insects such as bees; and reducing to 150ppm is enough to cause mass plant extinctions, with the ensuing extinction of all animal life that would eat those plants and then all the rest of the food chain thereafter.

    So why shut down the Gas of Life? Simple – FOLLOW THE MONEY…!

    Apart from it being an ideal excuse to surreptitiously set up a global Taxation system, just do the most basic research on who is making a fortune out of trading Carbon Credits (eg Al Gore) and also who is making a mint out of having subsidised wind farms on their land (for example in the UK, David Cameron’s father-in-law).

    And the Paris Accord has the opposite effect to what is intended, because it requires highly developed nations to change immediately but developing nations have many years to comply. This means that multinationals will shut down each of their expensive clean industries in developed nations and build 2 or 3 dirty ones to replace them in low cost/low standards developing nations, thus increasing the total global pollution and putting lots of people in countries in Europe and the USA out of work – which is one reason why Trump cancelled US participation.

    • Excuse me old chap, but that’s a load of pseudo-scientific bollocks mixed up with lies.

      • Nick Davies says:

        The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change eh?

        As in all these things, follow the money. Its Wikipedia entry cites funding from ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy, who just happen to be the world’s biggest private coal company.

    • dougie27 says:

      Ooohh! A proper ‘flat earth climate change denier’! I look forward to seeing you towing around a greenhouse seamlessly connected to your exhaust pipe. At least you’ll have a lovely crop of tomatoes basking in all that lovely CO2 that you’re producing, but in the style of a former POTUS “It’s all about the planet, stupid”, and not the interests of multi national oil and coal producers that fund the likes of and their affiliates (The Heartland Institute et al).

      If we’re all serious about lessening our impacts, and in my view we all should be, outsourcing production of the stuff that we consume offshore to China (or wherever) just so that the CO2 created in producing them is included in China’s account and not ours might convince the two fat fools in charge – in the US and the UK respectively – that we’re actually making meaningful reductions in the release of greenhouse gases, but without a fundamental shift in what and how much we relentlessly consume, it’s all likely to be too little too late.

      At least XR are prepared to take a stand. Ironic that it’s in L B Sutton, home to the landmark ‘chimney’ – or perhaps not?

    • Paul Barrett says:

      Hi Ron, the permafrost is melting… because of us. Time for opinion is over as action is required. Your links are pretty ludicrous… Crops wont grow without insects to pollinate them in your carbon rich atmosphere, rain patterns will change causing lengthy droughts. The science is clear & links to ‘forbes’… Well the barrel has been well & truly scraped.

  3. Helen Benjamins says:

    Then there is all of the work put in behind the scenes to make this event happen. From the logistics to the costumes and from the promotion to the fact finding, plus a who lot of other stuff in between. And for what? Not for glory or riches but for YOUR lungs. They campaign because they care, thank Heavens someone does, all you have to do is be aware, and if you see these bees, say thank you.❤️

  4. Lewis White says:

    Brilliant series of contributions above! Informative and enjoyable. Thanks for facilitating the debate, Inside Croydon!
    A couple of arising thoughts… if my “big” lungs get badly affected by pollutants, like those contained in car exhausts, diesel engines, and given off by burning plastic from the Beddington Incinerator, I wonder how the “little” equivalents of lungs in bees, moths and other insects are affected by the same pollutants which must be far bigger and far more concentrated in terms of their “lungs” and body mass, than mine.

    Could this be a reason why insects like moths and butterflies are declining. I really don’t think that farming or horticulture is to blame in the SE of England, There is very little pesticide spraying going on in Surrey, but moths and butterfiles are still fewer in number than they were in the spray-happy days of Percy Thrower on the radio and TV.

    No, I wonder if it is combustion pollutants floating in the air.

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